Personalized advertising has gained prominence in recent years, being a resource used by companies to direct us to advertisements according to our interests, based on the pages we visit and the searches we do on the Internet. But is the microphone of our cell phone another means through which Facebook listens to us to know what to show us?
Many times we have been scrolling on Facebook from our cell phone, and by chance we have seen ads for the backpack or the sneaker we were interested in lately. There are many such anecdotes, and they have emerged strongly from the fear of being constantly listened to.
Already in 2014, the hypothesis that Facebook listens to us had emerged, with the launch of a tool that allowed it to recognize what you were listening to on your mobile so that you could update a Status with that song, movie or series.
This theory has been denied again by the authorities of the famous social network in a disclaimer on the subject: “Some articles have suggested that we listen to people’s conversations to show them the most relevant ads. That’s not true. We show ads based on the person’s interests and other information in their profile. And not according to what they say out loud.”
How the theory that Facebook listens to us resurfaced
In March 2018, the controversy of Cambridge Analyticaa statistical data company directly linked to U.S. President Donald Trump, in which Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg was summoned to court for allegedly providing the company with access to private data from 50 million users for Trump’s presidential campaigns.
Back in 2017 the famous radio host, PJ Vogt, tweeted the possible theory for his audience to comment on and there were plenty of comments where similar experiences were shared, where ads appeared on Facebook after having had a conversation about a product, and without even having posted anything relevant.
Suspicions have been around for some time and the Cambridge Analytica case helped to sow deeper doubts. However, the company has come out to deny such hypothesis again and again. In the wake of the data breach scandal, several executives have cut ties with Facebook and its stock has fallen tremendously.
What solutions does Facebook propose?
In 2017 Facebook had announced changes to its ad policy to make the policy more transparent, with users being able to choose “View ads” that are currently running, and to be able to regulate mainly election advertising. However, the social network cannot finish clearing its name and the theory that Facebook listens to us through microphones still stands .
The safeguard of our privacy in the social network has been questioned, there have been several experiments and videos that have circulated where different people talk and pronounce key words that are then reflected in the announcements of the news section of their Facebooks, however they can also be false. In the meantime, the company continues to deny such a theory.
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