Is Facebook Listening In On Your Conversations?

Here's why those related ads seem to appear at the "perfect" times.

June 27, 2019
Photo Credit: PA Images/Sipa USA

Photo Credit: PA Images/Sipa USA

Have you ever been having a private conversation with someone about something (a business, maybe: restaurant, product, service), and an advertisement appears about it soonafter on your Facebook news feed?  Is Facebook listening in on your conversations, and spitting out ads relating to what you were talking about?

Facebook denies that they're actually "listening in" on (i.e. "hearing") conversations, but they do admit to a sophisticated Facebook artificial intelligence system that custom-tailors ads to you.

One of their most powerful tools: keeping track of sophisticated demographic and location data.  In other words, they know your age, sex and location; and cater ads to those factors.  For example, you could be hanging out with a friend who has similar interests as you (Facebook knows this, because you're in proximity to one another), and Facebook pushes ads on you for products that your friend likes (that you could [ironically] be talking about).

Facebook can also decipher what you like (and therefore push advertising on you) based on the photos you post: or things you write.  You post a picture of your kids, and you suddenly receive ads for childrens products.  And don't forget when you "Like" something: that's just an invitation for Facebook to advertise a specific (kind of) product on your news feed.

Sure, there are ways to turn this off...but Facebook will always have the upper hand: with constantly changing updates and privacy reports (that you accept without reading, right?).  The best way to stop this from happening?  Drop Facebook.

But who really wants to do that?

Watch this scene from Minority Report.  We're heading in this direction!

Source: USA Today

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