Is Facebook spying on you?
Have you ever been scrolling through your newsfeed and thought it strange that you were just talking about Coca-Cola and now there’s an advertisement for them right on your screen? Is Facebook spying on you, or are you crazy?
These days, Facebook seems to know more about you than you do about yourself. There’s a growing conspiracy that Facebook is spying on people’s conversations and using that data to sell to companies who in turn issue personalized advertisements to consumers. Which, if true, is a massive invasion of privacy.
Data regarding consumer purchasing behavior is vital for companies looking to satisfy consumer needs. What company wouldn’t be rushing to take advantage? Think of the potential profit companies could generate if they had access to our conversations.
Facebook has denied this repeatedly, but there are enough spooky coincidences out there that people still believe it.
What does Facebook have to say for themselves?
Facebook’s Vice President of ads, Rob Goldman, outright denied the claims. “…We don’t – and have never used your microphone for ads. Just not true,” tweeted Goldman. Despite the denials from Facebook, scores of users online still believe that Facebook is eavesdropping on them. Putting aside the ideas that Facebook is out-and-out lying, it is technically possible for the company to listen to conversations in addition to recording Facebook Messenger chats.
Steps to Change Facebook Microphone Permissions
If you aren’t willing to take Facebook at their word, here are some steps to take their corporate ears out of your business. If you have the app on an iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy > Microphone and revoke Facebook’s permission to access your mic. On Android, go to Setting > Apps > Facebook > Permissions > and toggle off the mic setting.
Is the Skepticism Legitimate?
What is going on here? Is the skepticism legitimate or are people right to put on their tinfoil hats? In reality, Facebook doesn’t need microphone data to know information about their users. They already have a treasure trove of information that you freely give up with pages you interact with, post history and search history. Moreover, Facebook is even getting data on you from third-party companies like Oracle (retail data), Experian (credit reports) and Epsilon (direct mailing lists). It’s very likely you were served a specific brand’s ad before but didn’t notice it until you mentioned the name in a conversation. So if you still have your tinfoil hat on, just deactivate your account and delete the app.