Is Facebook Actually Using Your Mic to Spy on You?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is getting lambasted over the site's data leaks and privacy issues. Is it even worse than we thought? The Zuck tackled the issue head-on with an answer.
During a hearing with the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Commissions, Mark Zuckerberg was grilled about how Facebook handles users' data, privacy, and how millions of users' personal information was leaked. During the hearing, a senator from Michigan asked Zuckerberg about an old wives' tale about how Facebook gathers data for ad targeting:
I have heard constituents say Facebook is mining audio from their mobile devices for the purpose of ad targeting. For the record, I hear it all the time, does Facebook use audio obtained from mobile devices to enrich personal information about its users?
We've all heard that one right? You're talking to a friend about how you really love Buffalo Wild Wings boneless wings, and next thing you know every single ad you see on Facebook is about chicken wings. How do they do that? Is Facebook really using your phone's on-board mic to capture information about you? Zuckerberg replied with a very straight forward answer:
We do not. Senator, Let me be clear on this. You are talking about the conspiracy theory passed around that we listen to what is going on on your microphone and use that. We do not do that. We do allow people to take videos on their device and share those. Videos also have audio. We do, while you are taking a video, record that and use that to make the service better by making sure that you have audio. That is pretty clear.
So, the short answer is no. Facebook does not use your microphone to gather data about you for ad targeting. While the social media monster is still in a heap of trouble, at least we can put this rumor to rest.