Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced "frictionless sharing" app features at a conference in September.
AFP/Getty Images
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced "frictionless sharing" app features at a conference in September.

Story highlights

Pandora does not plan to support Facebook Music and its auto-publish features

Facebook will launch more "frictionless sharing" features on Wednesday, a source says

Apple's iTunes also does not participate in Facebook Music

CNN —  

Your friends don’t need to know about every song you hear on the radio.

That’s the position Pandora has taken toward a new Facebook feature that lets users automatically publish information to their profiles about songs they listen to, videos they watch and articles they read.

Pandora, which makes the popular personalized Internet radio service, isn’t just concerned about clutter in your Facebook friends’ news feeds. Some listeners could feel violated when they learn that an application is broadcasting information about their activities, Pandora executives said.

“It’s true that music is a social experience, but it’s also a very private experience,” Pandora founder Tim Westergren said in a recent phone interview. “We have to be very cautious.”

Facebook is poised to release new features at a news conference on Wednesday that will allow users to automatically publish information from other websites and apps to their Timeline profiles, according to a person familiar with the project.

These will go beyond the Facebook Music app that’s already available, the person said. For example, a fitness program that tracks physical activities could send Facebook an update after a long jog. The plans were reported earlier by the website All Things Digital.

A Facebook spokesman declined to comment. At a news conference in September, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said people would benefit from publishing more data and letting computer algorithms sort out what’s important.

“No activity is too big or too small to share,” Zuckerberg said. “You don’t have to ‘Like’ a movie. You just watch a movie.”

Facebook will press on without the support of some major app makers, such as Apple, whose iTunes software is the No. 1 digital jukebox. An Apple spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokeswoman for Flipboard, an app that creates personalized magazines from social network feeds, has said the company doesn’t plan to send information to Facebook about every article users read and will instead let users selectively post with a share button. She said people probably wouldn’t want to broadcast everything.

Pandora has supported many of Facebook’s platform development efforts in the past. Pandora launched Facebook sharing features when they were first rolled out and was among the first to support Facebook’s Instant Personalization program, which automatically recognizes a Pandora visitor’s Facebook account.

“We have a great relationship with Facebook,” a Pandora spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail. “We continue to be excited about what they are doing and more generally about the social dimension of music – for example, there are a host of great new social features on the new Pandora.com site that we launched in September.”

Pandora’s feed can be tweaked or edited by each user, but only includes information when a user creates a new radio station or bookmarks or clicks the thumbs-up button on a particular song or artist. It doesn’t post a feed of every song that plays.

Facebook lets users manage which apps can publish to their profiles using a page called the Activity Log. In an interview with reporters in September, Facebook CTO Bret Taylor said the company’s long-term goal is to have every app support the auto-publish features. Earlier partners have said that the tools have brought in hordes of newcomers to their websites.

Pandora is one of many that is reluctant to sign on, but its absence from Facebook Music is noticeable.

“There is a segment for sure that wants to really promiscuously share and wants to hear about everything that their friends are listening to,” Pandora CTO Tom Conrad told a small audience at a technology conference recently. However, they make up a minority, he said.

“There is a really large percentage of the Pandora audience that actually aren’t interested at all in what their friends are listening to,” Conrad said. “They don’t want to spam their entire social network with things they’re discovering.”