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Is Facebook spying on your conversations to target you with ads?
Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 31st Oct 2017

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Facebook

Zuckerberg himself famously taped over his camera, but should you also watch what you say around your mic?

Spend enough time on the internet and you’ll eventually see ads targeted specifically to you. Facebook is no different. Watch a trailer for Justice League and you’ll start seeing ads for comic books or other superhero movies. Many of you likely didn’t realize it was happening for some time after it started. It’s a system we’ve basically accepted as part of our daily lives, but some people are now theorizing that Facebook might be using a computer’s microphone to mine your conversations for ads.

The BBC reports that PJ Vogt, who presents a tech podcast called Reply All, sent out a tweet calling for people’s stories regarding why they believe Facebook may be listening in on their conversations for the purposes of ad targeting.

Rob Goldman, Facebook’s VP of ads, chimed in to reassure people that Facebook does not use people’s mics as a way of spying on them.

26 Oct

PJ Vogt  ✔@PJVogt

Reply All is taking phone calls today. Call us if you believe that Facebook uses your mic to spy on you for ad reasons. 3PM ET. 917-267-5180

 Follow

Rob Goldman @robjective

I run ads product at Facebook. We don't - and have never - used your microphone for ads. Just not true.

6:39 PM - Oct 26, 2017

Twitter Ads info and privacy

Despite Goldman’s comments, Vogt got hundreds of replies to his tweet.

26 Oct

PJ Vogt  ✔@PJVogt

Reply All is taking phone calls today. Call us if you believe that Facebook uses your mic to spy on you for ad reasons. 3PM ET. 917-267-5180

 Follow

kelley @kelleyblythe_

I have been talking about getting a cat. I didn't post about it anywhere but I DID start seeing ads for cat food.

6:17 PM - Oct 26, 2017

Twitter Ads info and privacy

26 Oct

PJ Vogt  ✔@PJVogt

Reply All is taking phone calls today. Call us if you believe that Facebook uses your mic to spy on you for ad reasons. 3PM ET. 917-267-5180

 Follow

Jeff @tiger187126

i wish i would have been more scientific about it, but when i was using facebook we would get ads we didn't search for, but talked about.

6:06 PM - Oct 26, 2017

Twitter Ads info and privacy

A coworker got an ad saying “so you popped the question!” minutes after he proposed, before he told anyone it had happened

— Tori Hoover (@torihoover) October 27, 2017

Despite the many responses that Vogt received, there isn’t much, if any, concrete proof that Facebook uses people’s mics to spy on them.

As for why Vogt’s Tweet got so much attention, one explanation is that it is simply a matter of coincidence. The ads might have been there the entire time and people simply didn’t notice them at first.

Facebook isn’t the only company to come under fire for this issue. Many people believe that smartphones are being used by companies as a means of collecting information on consumers.

Source: digitaltrends.com

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