Facebook has once again been forced to deny eavesdropping on its users, despite persistent rumours to the contrary.
Facebook denying claims they are eavesdropping is becoming increasingly common.
This time the social media giant has been forced to deny that they are using people’s phones to listen to conversations.
It comes in light of people being shown ads for items they had discussed in a conversation rather than searched for online.
Unsurprisingly, this has led users to become suspicious that the app can listen to telephone calls and use the data to show ads.
A post went viral on Reddit, apparently showing evidence that Facebook has been listening.
Facebook were forced to deny that they listen to conversations in response to a podcast host asking for stories regarding the matter and the bizarre coincidences that users had experienced.
I run ads product at Facebook. We don't – and have never – used your microphone for ads. Just not true.
— Rob Goldman (@robjective) October 26, 2017
“I run ads product at Facebook. We don’t – and have never – used your microphone for ads. Just not true,” Rob Goldman, Facebook’s vice-president of ads, posted on Twitter.
However, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, who used to run Facebook’s ads and business platform before moving to a different job with the company, simply replied “incorrect”, leaving users to draw their own conclusions.
Various suggestions have been offered about how the mystery has occurred.
One, known as the Baader-Meinhof effect, is where people only notice an ad after it has been discussed as it now has relevance even though it had previously been present.
Others suggest that Facebook has collected the data via other means such as watching for what friends have been searching for – although this does seem a little farfetched.
Facebook have had to deny such accusations before and indeed put up a permanent page that reads:
“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.”
— Ryan Northcott (@ryannorthcott) October 29, 2017