If you’re a regular user of the app, you may have noticed times where you see ads for products you have talked about but have not searched for. CEO Adam Mosseri spoke to CBS about this phenomenon and gave users an explanation as to how these ads may show up on our feeds.

Instagram is the most popular photo-sharing app around and is a regular find in almost any and every phone these days. 


‘CBS This Morning’ host Gayle King asked

Can you help me understand how I can be having a private conversation with someone about something I’m interested in seeing or buying… and an advertisement for that will pop up on my Instagram feed. I haven’t searched for it, I haven’t talked to anybody about it. I swear I think you guys are listening. I know you’re gonna say you’re not.

Mosseri then went on to explain the ways in which the app decides which ads to show and to whom. 

There are two ways that can happen. One is dumb luck, which can happen. The second is you might be talking about something because it’s top of mind because you’ve been interacting with that type of content more recently. So maybe you’re really into food and restaurants. You saw a restaurant on Facebook or Instagram and you really like the thing. It’s top of mind, maybe it’s subconscious and then it bubbles up later. I think this kind of thing happens often in a way that’s really subtle.

Mosseri also insisted that the app does not spy on its users in any way. 

But we don’t look at your messages, we don’t listen in on your microphone, doing so would be super problematic for a lot of different reasons. But I recognize you’re not gonna really believe me. 

Mosseri may be right but Twitter really doesn’t believe the CEO’s claims about not spying.