Facebook seems to be everyone’s privacy nightmare, and the latest scare has people believing the social network is eavesdropping on your conversations. Kelli Burns, a professor of mass communications at University of South Florida, recently suggested Facebook could be using your phone’s microphone to listen in on your conversation and surroundings.
Facebook quickly addressed the issue by clearing things up with news sources and writing a blog post regarding the matter. Here’s what they had to say.
Facebook 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.
They go on to mention that some features do listen to your surroundings, but they don’t record anything, and they don’t actually use this information to decide what type of ads are displayed. They grab all that data from other parts of your profile.
We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio. This might include recording a video or using an optional feature we introduced two years ago to include music or other audio in your status updates.
Even if you are worried, you can easily restrict the Facebook app from using the microphone. Simply go to Settings > Apps > Gear button > Microphone > Toggle Facebook apps off.
Facebook spying on you should be no surprise by now. Companies like Google and Facebook pretty much know everything about us, but listening in on out loud conversation reaches a level no person is comfortable with. Thankfully, Facebook is not there yet. We do have tech that is listening in all the time, such as Amazon’s Echo speaker.
How do you feel about technology always listening? Are you OK with it? Is it only acceptable if the information is not being used for other purposes?