Is your social media listening in on you?
This is where the controversy comes in. There have been many stories from bloggers, writers and social media users about seeing ads from very specific brands and accounts, only days after having a conversation about them.
I too have experienced this phenomenon. Just a few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with my friend about the value of leasing a car instead of buying it, and how my lease is almost up so I need a new car soon. The next day, I saw an ad for a great deal on a leased car in my area.
Another time, I expressed to my roommate that we needed to get more toilet paper, and later that night I got an ad from a department store app with toilet paper as the main photo.
One blogger wrote about talking with family at dinner about her dream of moving to Montana. The next day, she saw a sponsored ad on Instagram from the Montana tourism department’s Instagram account. She argued that there’s no other way this information would have been gathered without someone hearing her conversation. Sure enough, she checked and saw that both Facebook and Instagram had permission to access to her iPhone’s microphone.
After many other allegations, Facebook released a statement:
Facebook claims to only use the microphone to pick up on what TV show or song you’re listening to, while updating your status. While this has been stated to be true many times, many users can’t get the idea out of their heads. If it’s something that makes you uncomfortable, it can’t hurt to turn off the microphone feature on your smartphone.