Is Facebook listening to me through my phone? Mark Zuckerberg finally responds to ‘conspiracy theory’

'I hear it all the time'

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 11 April 2018 11:12 BST
Mark Zuckerberg says that Facebook obtaining information from phone calls is a 'conspiracy theory'

Mark Zuckerberg has finally responded to a conspiracy theory that most of his users seem to believe.

For years, Facebook users have claimed that the site seems to be listening to them, apparently through their phone's microphones. Usually, people come to this conclusion when they see uncannily accurate ads – holidays to countries just after they've spoken about them, for instance, or posts about new cars just after they have spoken about their current one breaking down.

But the company has repeatedly denied it. Instead, the ads are just a consequence of the the company's extremely targeted ad network and the fact that people will forget the many posts they see that aren't relevant, those who deny the conspiracy theory say.

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Now Mark Zuckerberg himself has spoken about the idea, calling it a "conspiracy theory". The Facebook boss was asked about it as part of his questioning in front of US politicians at Congress, where he was quizzed about the company's data abuse scandal and how it uses data.

Asking the question, Senator Gary Peters said: "I hear it all the time, including from my own staff". While the theory has been repeatedly debunked, many people still continue to believe in it and come to the conclusion themselves after seeing new ads.

He denied that Facebook does such a thing.

"You’re talking about this conspiracy theory that gets passed around, that we listen to what’s going on on your microphone and we use that for ads," he said. "We don’t do that."

The claim that Facebook is listening into its users goes viral every so often, and numerous videos and posts across the internet claim to offer evidence and proof of the suggestion. It is so widespread that the site has set up a special page in its help section, where it denies that it would be able to use such a feature.

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