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Is Facebook listening to your phone’s microphone? Zuckerberg’s PR squad responds

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Recent reports that Facebook is listening to your conversations using your phones microphone have finally prompted response from officials at the social network.

Facebook’s press team has shut down rumours that the company is listening in on your real-world conversations for the purpose of advertising in a new statement published online. It’s in response to a recent claim by Professor Kelli Burns, who told the Independent that Facebook is recording your voice to gather data on your interests.

The original report read:

“Professor Burns has said that the tool appears to be using the audio it gathers not simply to help out users, but might be doing so to listen in to discussions and serve them with relevant advertising. She says that to test the feature, she discussed certain topics around the phone and then found that the site appeared to show relevant ads.”

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Facebook has since responded with the following statement:

Facebook does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed. Some recent articles have suggested that we must be listening to people’s conversations in order to show theme relevant ads. This is not true. We show ads based on people’s interests and other profile information – not what you’re talking out loud about.”

Facebook went on to explain that the company only accesses your microphone if you’ve given the app permission, and only when you’re using a specific feature that requires audio. Examples include recording a video or embedding audio in a status update.

If you’re worried that despite its assurances, Facebook really is listening to you, you can turn off the microphone permission on both iOS and Android in your app settings.

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Do you think Facebook is up to no good? Let us know in the comments.

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