On Tuesday, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the U.S. Congress to testify in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. When one U.S. senator asked him if rumors that Facebook was listening in on mobile users via their devices’ microphones were true, Zuckerberg replied, “No.”
He dismissed the reports about Facebook secretly harvesting data for advertising purposes as a “conspiracy theory” which has been around since 2016.
According to the theory, the tech giant is covertly recording everything mobile users say via their smartphone’s microphones Next, the Facebook app is searching the Internet for key words in those conversations. The data is ultimately used to place the right ads in that users’ News Feed.
For instance, if somebody had a conversation about a brand of cars, they will see that brand pop up in their News feed on Facebook. Two years ago, Facebook dismissed the rumors, explaining that the News feed ads are so accurate because they are based on info gathered from the users’ Facebook profiles.
Facebook Does Record Some Audio Input
Sen. Gary Peters asked Zuckerberg if the company used audio collected by the software from mobile device to spy on users. “No,” the Facebook founder replied. He acknowledged that the audio from the videos people take of themselves with their mobile phones is used “to make the service better.”
- Android users that are still concerned about Facebook listening in on them can instruct the phone to shut down Facebook app’s permission to tap the device’s microphone from the Settings menu.
- But if they do want their Facebook Live Videos to have audio, they should turn the permission back on.
iPhone users can turn off Facebook’s access to the device’s mic from Settings>Privacy>Microphone.
Image Source: Flickr