Is Facebook Spying a Real Thing?

It wasn’t so long ago that I was given a task to write about the privacy of online conversations. In my career, being surprised or shocked by how little informed you’ve been – it literally happens on weekly basis.

So, I just had one of my revelations once again. It’s what people call the ‘Facebook spying’.  This was one of the biggest surprises of them all – to read that when I downloaded Facebook Messenger, I actually agreed to them listening to my conversations.  

Not just the written ones – the ones I make out loud when the app is on!

When you come across something like that, you stop what you are doing and start digging deeper. You use all the power search engines generously provide you with. Or at least I do.

I don’t use my Facebook all that often, but my phone is with me even when I am showering. It’s a nasty habit, but it exists in my life. I’ve accepted it and am living with it.

I most certainly don’t accept this.

So, I started reading. There are all these people who say that once they talk about something they need out loud, it often happens that when they open Facebook afterward, an ad about it just ‘pops-up’. It was then when it hit me – it happened to me, oh so many times!

I looked at it as luck, so I guess I am a bit too busy to pay attention. I literally thought: ”Amazing, I was just talking about it yesterday.” For example, I’d mention a trip to Thailand, and it would just come up on my Facebook news feed the next day. It is a pleasant feeling – to get what you need right there – served on a silver platter.

But, not at the cost of Facebook spying on me.

So, without further ado, I started snooping around. Then, I got more confused. So many people tell stories where I simply find myself in, but other websites mention testing that resulted in the very opposite. 

Not that I believe in it. I hardly believe in anything that’s written online, really.

If you’re doing my job, you’d know why. I literally write blogs about products I’ve never heard of or tested, but I have to say all these nice things about them. I am asked to say that one thing is a thousand times better than the same item sold by the competition when in many cases, it probably isn’t. It’s the power of marketing, and people are too smart about it at this time.

Is It Really Happening?

It might be just a belief without any substantial proof or testing, but I don’t think that I have to come up with fake names and fake test results to prove my point to you. You are much smarter than that. It is simply that, after reading everything and having experienced it, I believe that Facebook spying is a real thing.

I believe they do this.

I don’t think that Facebook records our conversations or anything because let’s face it – I am quite boring to them with my desires to go to Thailand or Japan, or anywhere for that matter. But, I do think that there are some people that give AI a red flag, and that red flag is sent to the people who put it there.

And while they might be listening to me, it is very unlikely that Facebook tracks my every word through my phone’s microphone. It would require a lot of recording because let’s face it,  I am a talkative person. It would literally take a sheer size of storage for them to record me, or the billions of people who just talk and talk around the globe.

Maybe I watch too many movies, but the thing about Facebook Spying sounds really, really REAL. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Facebook spying means that they are recording conversations, but I think they start when they get a red flag. If they don’t, AI simply uses it to provide us with ads.

I wouldn’t mind it if it were just for the ads, I think. It is nice to have it all just handed to you when you need it, but the possible human factor in Facebook spying isn’t just concerning – it is offensive. At least to me.

What Facebook Says About It

Last year, there was this podcast – Reply All, and they did investigate this very disturbing rumor – that Facebook listens to the conversations of its users with the goal to target ads. Of course, Facebook denies it, and even Alex Goldman literally tries to convince people that this isn’t true. It has plenty of alternate explanations about the matter that did convince me a bit, but just a bit. Definitely not enough.

“My understanding is that a lot of these cases that you’re talking about are a coincidence,” – said Mark Zuckerberg.” Someone might be talking about something, but then they also go to a website or interact with it on Facebook because they were talking about it, and maybe they’ll see the ad because of that,” – he said.  (source)

The rumor sounds pretty real to me, and even though Facebook wouldn’t really bother to listen to billions of people talking unimportant things every day, that’s why artificial intelligence is there to take over. It is moving so fast, it gives me quite a scare. Facebook does not even have to listen to us talk – AI can do it all for them.

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