Facebook has shut down rumors - bubbling around social media for quite some time - that it uses your mobile device's microphone to eavesdrop on conversations so it can better target ads.
Facebook on Thursday put up a post on its official blog, shedding light on the subject:
Facebook does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed. We show ads based on people’s interests and other profile information.
The theory that the company was secretly listening to its users' conversations is backed by the logic that Facebook has access to your microphone because users give it permission to listen when trying to use mobile app features like capturing video.
The feature has been available for a couple of years, but Facebook apparently only responded to recent warnings from Kelli Burns, mass communication professor at the University of South Florida.
Burns told The Independent that the tool appears to be using the audio it gathers to help out users, may as well be listening to discussions and serve them with relevant advertising.
Facebook has since been mandated to clarify that there has been no invasion of privacy and they are not listening to users without their permission.
"We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio. This might include recording a video or using an optional feature we introduced two years ago to include music or other audio in your status updates." the recent statement stated.
The audio recognition feature, launched by Facebook in May last year, is designed to tag a music or television show in the background when you're writing a status.
The feature, however, starts listening when you type a new status without tap "Listening To" or "Watching" in the status-creation screen but you can steer clear of it by turning off the app's access to your microphone.
(Feature Image Source: Twitter)