Facebook may be using your microphone to listen your conversations

Did you ever thought ads that appear on your facebook or instagram is similar to your interest. Wait a second there’s a conspiracy theory that the facebook and other tech giants use the microphone on your smartphone to listen in on your conversations and then serve you ads relevant to your interests.

Last year in an interview BBC asked Ken Munro a cybersecurity expert to build a prototype app that listened in on its owners conversations, and he easily built an app that didn’t drain the phone’s battery while listening in within a couple of days. So, the conspiracy theory could be true.

“All we did was use the existing functionality of Google Android – we chose it because it was a little easier for us to develop in,” said Mr Munro.

“We gave ourselves permission to use the microphone on the phone, set up a listening server on the internet, and everything that microphone heard on that phone, wherever it was in the world, came to us and we could then have sent back customised ads.”

Few days back popular internet-culture podcast Reply All host PJ Vogt put out a call for evidence that Facebook “uses your mic to spy on you for ad reasons.”

Too many people responded to his tweet some people said they have experienced this while others objected. The strongest evidence for this theory is the many people seeing ads about things claimed they have only discussed about it verbally and they haven’t followed any pages or searched about it.

A person said he was talking to his friend about how he needs a phone holder in the bathroom because their counter is small and he got this ad an hour later.

A woman said she has been talking about getting a cat and she didn’t post about it anywhere and then in facebook she found ads for cat food popping up.

These are only a drop in the ocean of suspicious stories about conversation-related Facebook ads around the internet.

But, Facebook strenuously denied it. In response to Vogt’s request for stories, Facebook’s vice president of advertising, called the theory “Just not true.”

Last summer, facebook put out a statement asserting in no uncertain terms that it never uses microphones in any inappropriate way.

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.

We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio.



Jahnavi M
Vulnerability analyst, Technical Writer, Security Blogger, Co-founder---SecKurity

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