SPOKANE, Wash. -- Ever notice you have a conversation and suddenly see what you talked about appear in advertisements on your Facebook and Instagram feed?
For a long time marketers have been using our iPhones to track where we are, where we have been and what we have done. Now our voices are becoming a part of the digital footprint and you probably are giving apps like Facebook and Instagram access to your microphone without even realizing it.
When you put the Facebook app on your phone, it requests access to your microphone because Facebook needs to record your voice when you shoot live video but does the app only record you when you're on camera? Is Facebook "listening" through your microphone?
In 2016, Facebook denied these claims and said, "it does not use your phone's microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed.”
Facebook’s Data Policy and their partnership with third party companies said, "We use all of the information we have about you to show you relevant ads. We do not share information that personally identifies you with advertising partners, unless you give us permission.
If you want to stop giving apps permission to access your microphone here's how:
If you are an iPhone user go to Settings >> Privacy >> Microphone >> look for Facebook, then make sure your microphone is off. You can toggle the mic on and off for other apps, too.
For Android users: Try Settings >> Applications >> Application Manager >> look for Facebook >> Permissions >> Turn off the mic.
Programmers have created technology that tracks high frequency sounds that only phones can hear. Your smartphone or tablet can spy on you using sound waves you do not even know are there. Marketers can use the information, they collect to tailor their advertisements to you.
Although we cannot confirm if you favorite apps are using this technology, it is good to know it is out there.