Opinion: Is Facebook listening to conversations?

Is Facebook listening to conversations?

Do you believe Facebook listens to your conversations?

For years there have been many myths and rumours circulating around this possibility, with many users pointing to this theory as the only way to explain why users are targeted by Facebook ad’s following conversations.

Inside this article, our Knutsford web design agency will investigate if Facebook really is eavesdropping on your conversations, what Facebook has to say and if you can put a stop to this.

Why do users think Facebook is listening to conversations?

From a simple Google search, you will find endless debates where Facebook users claim they have spoken about niche, random products out loud in conversation. Next, they soon discover adverts appearing within their Facebook feed.

Every story you read, each Facebook user claims they have never searched for this kind of content before, and therefore the only possible theory is Facebook must be listening through your microphone.

Furthermore, Facebook also maintains a terrible track record when it comes to privacy and security. Last year alone, Facebook were found guilty of exposing the data of 50 million users and heavily featured in the news for criticism and conservatory around privacy bugs and reporting “fake news”.

Facebook Responds To Rumours

Back in 2016, Facebook addressed this rumour in a postFacebook does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed. Some recent articles have suggested that we must be listening to people’s conversations in order to show them relevant ads. This is not true. We show ads based on people’s interests and other profile information – not what you’re talking out loud about.

Is Facebook really listening to you?

It’s a real headscratcher. However, research conducted by Northeastern University ultimately disproved this theory. After analysing over 17,000 of the most popular apps using the Android operating system using an automated testing programme, they confirmed “there were no leaks at all – not a single app activated the microphone” to listen to conversations.

However, the study did also discover that 9,000 of these apps all had the potential to take screenshots. With permission to access your camera and microphone, you cannot rule out that these apps send information they find to third parties.

The magic of Facebook’s powerful digital marketing is also another likely answer to why ads are so personal and relevant to you. From the second you log into Facebook; you are feeding the social media platform with all the information they need. As soon as you start liking, interacting and sharing content, you are telling Facebook what type of content you want to see. You also voluntary handover so much information by filling out your profile by adding details such as location, product recommendations, products/services you like and even how much money you earn.

Once you have logged into Facebook on your desktop or mobile, it will start to track all your web activity. For example, if you were searching for a particular product such as a USB stick on Amazon from your home computer, and a phone charger on Google from your mobile device – it’s very likely you will see these exact ad’s or something very similar the next time you are scrolling through your Facebook news feed.

Facebook will know where you live, what you like, what you’re friends interests are and so much more. If you happen to stumble on an ad after speaking in conversation, it’s very likely Facebook are a victim of their own success in digital marketing at predicting your interests.

Professional Knutsford Web Design Agency Opinion

Personally, I do not believe Facebook is prying on your personal conversations. Instead, what might seem like intruding is actually very intelligent digital marketing advertising. However, if you are still not convinced, our Knutsford web design agency can offer two options.

Firstly, you can delete the app. Although this may seem a little extreme, Facebook has been in the headlines for major security breaches, leaving users data exposed. The alternative is to disable microphone access for Facebook… although you will have to enable this option again to use certain features within Facebook. Here’s the instructions…

On Apple:
Go to Settings app
Tap Privacy
Tap Microphone
Toggle Facebook to OFF

On Android:
Go to Settings
Go into Apps & Notifications
Find Facebook
Tap into Permissions
Toggle Microphone to OFF

What do you think, have you experienced something similar? Contact our Knutsford Web Design Agency to share your thoughts.

*Disclaimer – These are the opinions and views of untitled™.