Turns Out, Facebook IS Listening To You Through Your Phone!
For a few months now my wife has been saying it was weird how Facebook seems to show her ads for things she was just talking to someone about. As the ad technology industry veteran I always said that this wasn't happening, that Facebook wasn't listening to everything she said through her microphone.
Well, it turns out I was wrong, at least partially.
According to an article on Awareness Act, they do use your microphone for customizing the posts you see based on what's going on around you. Eugh. I just went through the process myself of checking my settings, and sure enough at some point I had said yes to them being able to access my microphone.
Facebook is owning this one, but they are saying that they do not use this data for ad targeting specifically. I doubt they are openly lying about it, but I also wonder to what degree this is possible.
Remember, if you have a Facebook account you are NOT the customer, you are the PRODUCT. Facebook makes it money from advertising, and so they want you to keep coming back, hence the lengths they go to to customize posts for you. If they have data for post customization in one pool then I am sure your subsequent interactions are used to tailor ads. That could be indirect audio usage for ad targeting. I am of course just speculating on that one.
If you want to turn this off:
On the iPhone go to Settings > Privacy > Microphone
On an Android go to Settings > Privacy > turn off facebook permissions
What do you think? Will this change how you use Facebook?