Two Facebook executives have been forced to deny that the social media app listens in on it users' conversations in order to target ads to them.
Users have been reporting that after they have mentioned certain phrases, they start seeing similar ads on their Facebook feed.
I have been talking about getting a cat. I didn't post about it anywhere but I DID start seeing ads for cat food.
— kelley (@kelleyblythe_) October 26, 2017
I was talking to my friend about how I need a phone holder in the bathroom bcause our counter is small and I got this ad an hour later pic.twitter.com/0GB5NH2kkc
— megan (@MorganCrockett) October 26, 2017
Rob Goldman, the head of advertising at the social network tweeted that the allegation was false:
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
Goldman also added that the denial holds true for Facebook’s other social network, Instagram, as well. Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, who previously served as the company’s VP of ads and business platform before taking on a new role leading consumer hardware also took to Twitter to deny the rumour:
— Boz (@boztank) October 26, 2017
The accusation that Facebook listens to it's users in order to target ads to them has been ongoing since they added an “Identify TV and Music” feature, which listens for ambient noise when a user is writing a status update
If it hears a TV show or song that it recognises using the smartphone’s mic, it offers the user the option of automatically tagging that show or song in their status update. Less than a month after the feature was launched, the company had to issue a denial that it was eavesdropping.
In a statement published on its website last year, the tech giant said: "We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio."
What do you think, have you ever made a passing comment about something, only to have it pop up on your newsfeed a few days later