What happens when you talk about a random item with your cell phone around?
If you have Facebook’s Messenger app, apparently, your phone is listening – and feeding your information to Facebook.
The YouTube user Neville conducted a simple experiment after suspecting Facebook was listening in to his conversations through his cell phone’s microphone – even when the phone is not in use.
“My wife and I took a random subject we had NEVER every talked about or searched online, and talked about it while her iPhone was on in the background. Two days later, our Facebook advertising completely changed over to cat food for a few days,” Neville wrote.
Neville stated that he has no cats, has never searched for cats or cat food, and yet after a few conversations at home about cat food with his phone nearby, Facebook was soon plugging advertisements for cat food on his account.
This idea is frightening to many, especially considering approximately 900 million people use Facebook’s Messenger app every month now that Facebook has made it impossible to for mobile users to read direct messages on Facebook without downloading their app.
Recently, the terms of Facebook’s Messenger app agreement began coming to light, and revealing what may have been Facebook’s motivation for making Messenger the only way for their users to access their messages.
Facebook’s Messenger app terms of service allow Facebook to access its users cell phone microphone and camera and record audio and video at any given moment without the user’s knowledge or permission.
Facebook’s terms state Facebook can “record audio with the microphone … at any time without your confirmation.” The terms also allow for taking pictures and videos without confirmation as well.
As early as 2006, it was reported that the FBI could remotely access your cell phone’s microphone without your knowledge. CNET reported that the FBI was remotely activating a mobile phone’s microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations in December 2006.
The FBI called this technique is a “roving bug,” and it was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.
Now, it seems the tech companies are using their “roving bugs” in your cell phone and every other device with a microphone – to record you all the time.
Facebook is apparently using this technology to customize ads for its users – but the big question is, what else are they using it for?