Vick – Is Your Phone Listening?

Vick - Is Your Phone Listening?

Olivia Vick, Messenger Reporter

There have been many reports of Facebook users across the globe saying that they believe their feed is influenced by what they talk about. Within most people’s privacy settings, Facebook and most of your other apps have access to your mic. Though according to BBC, Facebook denied the claims, sometimes it’s just hard to shake the feeling you get when an advertisement for a product you talked about purchasing, but never searched anywhere on your phone, shows up on your timeline.

One individual has personally reported having obvious issues with Facebook, and technology in general, listening to her conversations. After multiple instances of ads showing up related to conversations she had, she ranted about Facebook listening to her and when she next opened the app, it asked if she was concerned about her security. After taking precautions to turn off the access to her microphone on all of her apps and he phones general settings, she saw a decrease in the number of ads related to things she was talking about. However, she soon realized that there was other technology that may have an ear turned towards her. Once while teaching her son to tie his shoes, she proclaimed “You did it!” and heard her Google Home (from another room) comment “noted.” She looked into this and found many recorded clips from times when she had not addressed the device.

According to Global News, your phone has gathered such a large amount of information about you that social media is able to guess what you’re talking about or even thinking about due to astonishing algorithms. However, the technology certainly exists to listen in on you, and there aren’t specifically and legal reasons media sites could not do so. Amazon Echo has even had problems with accidentally ordering items it overhears on TV(Kohut “The internet is convinced our phones are listening to us. Here’s what the experts say” 2018). Though industries deny listening in, the evidence can seem to stack against these claims. And regardless of the merit to these claims, many individuals are uneasy about the possibility. Coincidence or not, many people would rather have less accurate ads and more privacy.

Whether the accuracy of ads in your social media feed is due to highly accurate algorithms or access to your phone’s mic, if you’re worried about it you can always access these settings in your phone. While you won’t be able to voice texts or record Facebook live videos with audio, this may be the price you must pay for your privacy and security within social media. Or maybe industries will take the hint, and back off with the Big Brother advertisements.