September 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Why Can’t You See the Music You’re Sharing on Facebook (Yet)?

facebook musicWe swear, we’ll stop talking about Facebook music at some point. Until then, another question: Why doesn’t Facebook let you see what you’ve been listening to?

After all, it knows what you have been listening to (on these services); it knows that you’re sitting there on Facebook checking out your music section (unless you’ve enabled Private Listening or disconnected); and it knows that you can see your ticker on the right side of the screen.

But Facebook just doesn’t show it to you (yet). Why, we ask? Possibly because if Facebook were to show you that activity, as it will soon, you might become more aware of what you’ve been broadcasting to everyone else.

Once Timeline launches to the general Facebook public, they will be able to see what they’ve been sharing. I finally installed Timeline for myself just now, and sure enough, my listening activity shows up there. I’m not surprised by this. Some people will be, which could be why Facebook hides one’s own listening activity from the ticker and people’s own “music” sections.

Facebook’s approach here reminds me of the way 8tracks only lets people listen to playlists their friends have created, but not their own playlists. That approach makes sense for 8tracks. In order to qualify for a “non-interactive” license under the DMCA (which stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Seth), it can’t let you make playlists out of whatever songs you want and listen to them. However, that is precisely what the music services that share songs on Facebook are licensed to do.

Facebook made this decision for some other reason — perhaps because it didn’t want to clutter our feeds with our own music activity, although it has no problem with letting us clutter our own feeds with our own text and photos. It could just be that Facebook is trying to ease us into this whole “share everything” thing.

Either way, we’ll find out soon enough how people react to seeing their own listening, reading, and other habits in the upcoming Timeline view, which will finally show Facebook users tracked activities that their friends have already been able to see.