Is Facebook Listening To Me?

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Author: ImpactfulMarketing
Date: March 5, 2024

Ever been scrolling through your Facebook feed and come across an advert for an item you had previously been talking about? Is that the Metaverse earwigging into your deepest darkest secrets?... Here’s all you need to know!

Today, I’ll be diving into the world of technology and all the conspiracies you may have heard about Facebook and other social medias listening in to your conversations. Do they hear everything you say in private and eventually use it to their own advantage? Or that cute top you saw online and now it’s being shown in an ad insisting you should go back to the website? Should you be worried?

The short answer to this is no, Facebook doesn’t listen to you, however it uses some other tactics to increase its accuracy of advertisement and organic post targeting. You don’t always need to be talking for technology to read your mind!

The Listening-In Myth Truth

The idea that Facebook and other social media platforms secretly record your conversations through your phone has been a persistent conspiracy theory for a while now, however there is no concrete evidence to support these speculations. Tech companies and experts have even gone out of their way to explain why the theory doesn’t hold any water.

One example is that if tech companies were to be audio recording continuously from their billions of distributed devices, they would need to invest A LOT in things such as storage, processing, and not to mention the privacy implications would be overwhelming (plus the legal and ethical concerns!) involved.

Therefore, Facebook and other platforms have repeatedly said they do not engage in this practice, the ads and content that appear in your feed are all based on things such as search history, your behaviour online, and the information you provide within your profile etc.

How Do They Target You?

So, if Facebook isn’t recording everything you say, how do they manage to show you ads and content that are so well customised to your interests? Well, there is a lot of data analysis that goes into the targeting carried out by these platforms. Here are some ways which they do it:

  1. User Profiling: When you make a profile on Instagram, Facebook etc you give them information such as age, location, education, interests and more. This information alone helps companies build a profile of you which they use for targeting ads.
  2. Tracking Online Behaviour: Companies track what posts you like, comment on, or even scroll past faster than others, they then use this to predict what adverts and suggested posts will be most suitable!
  3. Cookies and Browsing History: Cookies are used by websites to track your movements online and see what you’re searching and clicking on etc, this helps the platforms display better targeted ads.

Is This Something To Be Worried About?

Although Facebook and Instagram ad targeting is impressive, you don’t have to be worried how they will use that information about you due to very strict policies and their main objective being to make money through these ads. You are able to have a say over what data is shared and can even opt out of personalised targeting if you so desire!

In conclusion, the rumour that Facebook listens in on your conversations is only a myth and whilst it may seem like they are reading your mind, all those well targeted adverts are reaching you because of information you provide them with or accepted into! Always be aware of what you have saved in your privacy setting to insure you’re comfortable with the balance between customisation and privacy.

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