Facebook denies listening to people's conversation via microphone for ad targetting

Facebook has denied that it is using microphones of people's device to listen in to their conversation and send relevant ads to them.

Facebook. Reuters.

Facebook. Reuters.

'Reply All' podcast host @pjVogt asked his listeners to tell whether Facebook has been secretly listening to them for ad targetting. This was followed by affirmative responses by Twitteratis.

Meanwhile, the VP for ads at Facebook, Rob Goldman has denied of any such mechanisms of ad targeting. According to a BBC report, he said that the same held true for Facebook acquired Instagram as well.

In fact, in 2016, a Facebook post had surfaced where it said that it was not involved in listening to the conversation of its users via their microphones. However, it did say that such a coincidence may occur if the user has given the app access to its microphone. Or if the user uses their audio feature quite frequently such as audio or music feature in their status updates. Two years ago, a post on Facebook "How do I turn off Facebook's access to my microphone?" Here the user had a similar complaint as Twitter users, where the user saw an ad related to the conversation with a friend.

In 2015, a report was released by cybersecurity firm Avast antivirus, which had said that Google, Facebook, and WhatsApp were spying on their users for ad targeting. The CEO of the company had also said that it was a part of their business model. In this case, it was done via conversations on WhatsApp.

Back then Facebook and Google did not comment on the allegations.

Meanwhile, Facebook has stopped targeting ads based on ethnicity and race. The move came in the aftermath of US presidential elections in 2016. In another update to its controversial ad feature, Facebook seems to be aiding to the purpose of transparency. Here, it would be releasing ads along with the group or person behind the ad post.


Updated Date: Oct 30, 2017 09:43 AM