Did you know that there is a very good chance that Facebook is listening to every word you say when having a phone conversation with another person? That’s… a little scary, huh?
Unfortunately, it’s true and an expert says that they could be using it to gather data to promote certain stories and ads based on what you are talking about in those conversations.
Reports The Independent…
Facebook says that its app does listen to what’s happening around it, but only as a way of seeing what people are listening to or watching and suggesting that they post about it.
The feature has been available for a couple of years, but recent warnings from Kelli Burns, mass communication professor at the University of South Florida, have drawn attention to it.
Professor Burns has said that the tool appears to be using the audio it gathers not simply to help out users, but might be doing so to listen in to discussions and serve them with relevant advertising. She says that to test the feature, she discussed certain topics around the phone and then found that the site appeared to show relevant ads.
Though Professor Burns said she was not convinced that Facebook is listening in on conversations – it may have been that she was searching for the same things that she chose to discuss around the phone – but she said that it wouldn’t be a surprising move from the site.
Facebook claims that despite what happened to Burns they do not use any of the information they acquire by eavesdropping for advertising purposes and that they never store “raw audio” while listening.
“Facebook does not use microphone audio to inform advertising or News Feed stories in any way,” a spokesperson told The Independent. “Businesses are able to serve relevant ads based on people’s interests and other demographic information, but not through audio collection.”
Still, do you really want Facebook listening to everything it can hear on your phone?
If not, just go to your iPhone’s settings, then to the privacy setting, then the microphone, and then click the option to turn off Facebook. For Android phones it’s pretty much the same except after privacy settings just change the permissions that Facebook has on your phone.
Man on phone image by Shutterstock