The users of Facebook Inc. – the social media giant – spread personal stories over the weekend of what according to them is the social network snooping on them. These stories ignited other rumors, which allege that the social network accesses a smartphone’s microphone to record audio and listen to everything a user records.
Facebook official denies to all those claims in its old way
Kellie Burns, a professor at University of South Florida, was cited last year as reporting that she had tested the theory “about topics within earshot of her phone and was then shown related ads on Facebook,” notes Fox News in its report
Burns had at that time said that was no scientific research behind her claims. She further noted that her experience may have been anecdotal, however, that did not stop users across the internet from sharing what they claim are similar experiences. Burns added that her comments had been blown out of proportion.
Officially, the social media giant denied the claims last year, saying that it does not use the microphone of users’ smartphone to change what they see in News Feed or to inform ads. The Facebook feature ‘Identify TV and Music’, which came in 2014, enabled the microphone of a smartphone to identify what TV show or song a user was listening to. The related information was automatically inserted into a status update.
Facebook will access your microphone, only if you do this
The social networking site has said that it can access the microphone of a user if they explicitly give it the permission to do so. The social media giant further says that even with the user’s permission, spying for advertisers is not part of the work of the social network. In a blog post, the networking site wrote, “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.”
Recently, PJ Vogt, who is a tech podcast host, gave fuel to the fire by motivating the users to reveal their own experiences of possible spying. He tweeted, “Reply All is taking phone calls today. Call us if you believe that Facebook uses your mic to spy on you for ad reasons.”
Rob Goldman, the President of ads of the social network, tried to dispute those claims by tweeting, “I run ads product at Facebook. We don’t – and have never – used your microphone for ads. Just not true.” If you are worried about Facebook accessing your microphone, just deny the application access to your smartphone’s microphone. You can find that modification in the built-in ‘Settings’ application on your phone.