Facebook Rejects Eavesdropping Claims

Facebook Rejects Eavesdropping Claims
The social network says that it does not listen in on users' conversations to help select relevant ads.

(CCM) — Facebook has denied suggestions that it snoops on conversations through a smartphone's microphone in order to send the owner targeted advertisements, according to a BBC report.

Responding to a tweet from PJ Vogt, the presenter of the Reply All podcast, Rob Goldman, Facebook's advertising chief, said: "I run ads product at Facebook. We don't — and have never — used your microphone for ads. Just not true." He added that this included the Facebook-owned Instagram service as well as the main Facebook social network.

Many Facebook users replied to PJ Vogt's original tweet, describing incidents where they believed Facebook may have been listening to their conversations. For example, Tori Hoover tweeted: "A co-worker got an ad saying, "So you popped the question!" minutes after he proposed, before he told anyone it had happened."

But David Hand, a mathematics professor from Imperial College, London, told the BBC that there is a simple explanation for the phenomenon. "If you take something that has a tiny chance of occurring and give it enough opportunities to occur, it inevitably will happen," he said. "We are evolutionarily trained to seek explanations," he added.

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