Facebook is refuting allegations that it listens in on your conversations in a bid to serve up relevant ads.
The social networking firm has released a statement to address a report from The Independent that accused Facebook of eavesdropping on its mobile-using members. The article was based on the opinions of a University of South Florida communications professor who said Facebook often serves up ads with topics similar to what she has talked about near her phone. She told the publication she would not be surprised if Facebook did, in fact, carry out such a practice.
The social media firm reacted quickly to the allegation with a post on its news page.
“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,” the post reads.
“We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio. This might include recording a video or using an optional feature we introduced two years ago to include music or other audio in your status updates.”
For those who are paranoid about Facebook listening in to their conversations when they are on or near their Smartphones, there is a simple solution: simply disable the ability under Settings.
If you use iOS, tap on Facebook under Settings and then simply turn the microphone off. For Android, click on Apps under the settings menu, tap on Facebook and then choose permissions. From there you can turn off your mic.