Does Facebook spy on your conversations?

Pandora
Feb 23 74 Comments

I noticed many times that I’ve got an ad for something I might have said ( example: Target) while not using Facebook or instagram. After a while, I’ve got an ad for Target on Instagram or Facebook which I previously never got. So I decided to test this further and deliberately said Toyota to my phone in a sentence that “I’m thinking to buy a car, preferably a Toyota”. And I’m 100% certain I have never got an ad for Toyota. A day later I check Instagram, I get an ad for Toyota.

So creepy.

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TOP 74 Comments
  • Facebook / Eng
    ImpactMan

    Facebook Eng

    PRE
    Google
    ImpactManmore
    Wow, such science.
    Have you tried getting this published in an academic journal?

    Very, very enlightening and interesting stuff.
    Feb 23 28
    • Autodesk sodjdjekrm
      Building backend tools to collect data doesn’t need thousands of engineers, just takes a few really skilled devs
      Feb 23
    • Facebook liwbdnejw
      He be triggered. Success impactman
      Feb 23
    • Facebook / Eng
      ImpactMan

      Facebook Eng

      PRE
      Google
      ImpactManmore
      You literally said it's stored and processed on the client. So it would be compiled in to package right? Who maintains the code? How would infra engineers and mobile engineers working on optimization somehow not notice this mysterious module that would be highly computationally and resource heavy?
      Feb 23
    • Autodesk sodjdjekrm
      Why is it resource heavy? Its just keywords transmitted across a network the same data centers that store other heavy user data. Also there arent as many keywords over the conversations, since the rest of the keywords are deliberately typed out by the user in the name of search/conversation.

      are you saying your ads aren’t optimizing for the conversations that happen outside of its platform? Come on stop acting like you cant optimize such data.
      Feb 23
    • Facebook / Eng cico
      No it can’t, and no one is talking about bottle neck in transmitting data. On device Voice recognition is no where good enough to extract good keywords out of noisy conversations 24/7, point me to anything that can do this task without burning your phone battery
      Feb 23
  • LinkedIn s8d49a
    Facebook doesn’t listen to conversations. They use Facebook Pixel on 3rd party sites to track user engagement along with friends ‘ use of 3rd party sites to target ads, which sometimes is so accurate it appears that it’s listening to your conversations.
    Feb 23 5
    • Facebook / Eng
      ImpactMan

      Facebook Eng

      PRE
      Google
      ImpactManmore
      Nah, we're listening.
      Feb 23
    • LinkedIn s8d49a
      LOL
      Feb 23
    • Facebook liwbdnejw
      Impactman, I’ve flagged you to security. Can’t be exposing secret projects
      Feb 23
    • Facebook hyper
      Most of the people have no clue how advertising works. No wonder these conspiracy theory folks are everywhere.

      Just look up how targeted ads work, and it will solve all your mysteries lol.
      Feb 23
    • Facebook / Eng
      ImpactMan

      Facebook Eng

      PRE
      Google
      ImpactManmore
      Damn! I forgot about our secret team that had successfully deanonymized team blind.
      Feb 23
  • Uber
    afterbang

    Uber

    PRE
    Google, Facebook
    afterbang more
    lmao I’d expect this of morons in non-tech but can’t believe seemingly educated ppl here still buy into this “FB is listening!11!” thing
    Feb 23 1
    • Facebook liwbdnejw
      He’s from pandora, give him a little less credit

      Same company that was losing millions not detecting users who just left the browser playing music open while out of the house
      Feb 23
  • Facebook
    Instagrаm

    Facebook

    PRE
    Google, Microsoft
    Instagrаmmore
    Can you clarify how exactly you “said Toyota to your phone”?
    Feb 23 4
    • Facebook liwbdnejw
      He didn’t use his mouth to communicate to his phone
      Feb 23
    • Facebook
      Instagrаm

      Facebook

      PRE
      Google, Microsoft
      Instagrаmmore
      I wonder if that was in a sentence sent over Messenger or somehow else posted on FB? Or he was talking to Siri or G Assistant?
      Feb 23
    • Facebook liwbdnejw
      He was using the rectal 🌡 functionality
      Feb 23
    • Facebook / Eng
      ImpactMan

      Facebook Eng

      PRE
      Google
      ImpactManmore
      I've heard the initial mind reading teams experiments have shown promising results and have been working closely with ad ops.

      Would require more investigation, but maybe this is a result of that?
      Feb 23
  • Facebook / Eng
    ImpactMan

    Facebook Eng

    PRE
    Google
    ImpactManmore
    This whole thread.
    Feb 23 2
    • Facebook liwbdnejw
      Frankly all tech companies wished they had this functionality along - there would be no company leaks ever
      Feb 23
    • Facebook / Eng
      ImpactMan

      Facebook Eng

      PRE
      Google
      ImpactManmore
      If the team did exist, I would definitely join it. Imagine the metrics you could move.
      Feb 23
  • Nvidia bdei51
    Yeah so delete FB.
    Feb 23 1
    • Pandora
      OP
      Already did, mate. Cheers
      Feb 23
  • Facebook hyper
    Lmao. I work on ads op. If ad companies had this tech, there would be a ton of non ad products using this tech too.

    OP, as a thought exercise design a system that does this. End to end. Then post here for results. I really want to know how you think this works.
    Feb 23 0
  • Microsoft hooters
    My wife and her friends were suspecting of this as well. They never typed or searched but the ads they talked about show up in Instagram. Her iPhone has turned off the microphone access for Insta and FB. What I guess is there might be other apps which required access to microphone and collected voice data which was sent to a third party which Insta and FB use to show ads. FB and Instagram can claim they never used this information but they may be using it with or without knowing it via third party tools. This might be a reason why Tim Cook warned about underground data market. They probably know about this to some degree.
    Feb 23 8
    • Facebook
      Instagrаm

      Facebook

      PRE
      Google, Microsoft
      Instagrаmmore
      Hmm... so let’s blame FB eventually, right?
      Feb 23
    • Microsoft hooters
      There are many people who suspect this. FB may not be using them directly as I said. But the ad data they purchase from third parities might have done something. Who knows? Did we expect Russians would use FB and others to impact election?
      Feb 23
    • Microsoft hooters
      No need to act defensively. If there is suspicion, it is better to investigate otherwise, it will have the second coming of Russian meddling.
      Feb 23
    • Pandora
      OP
      @microsoft: No point asking questions to FB folks about FB. It’s going to be salty. It was a mere question without any aggression. Chill man
      Feb 23
    • Facebook liwbdnejw
      Lol, keep digging your hole.
      Feb 23
  • Microsoft MSFTBRO
    Car companies advertise heavily on FB. When I search for cars in general, I get car ads on fb. It’s a car company roulette. Volkswagen/Audi, Toyota/Lexus are the two companies that I just see no matter what car i search for.
    Feb 23 5
    • Pandora
      OP
      Yes, I’ve noticed that on searches. And that I understand. But constantly listening to what you are talking with your friends and making sense out of it to show you ads is just another level
      Feb 23
    • Microsoft MSFTBRO
      I don’t think they listen to you. I think you did a car search somewhere and you were served a Toyota ad by coincidence.
      Feb 23
    • Pandora
      OP
      No I haven’t. I already have a car so don’t ever search for it.
      Feb 23
    • Microsoft MSFTBRO
      Try saying more obscure stuff into your phone. Toyota is one of the biggest facebook advertisers bro.
      It’s like saying you get beer advertisements during superbowl so they must be watching you drink beer.
      Feb 23
    • SAP Gmqo4
      Yup. Same thing happened to me before. They are listening
      Feb 23
  • Revinate / Data JPQ
    You need to think bigger and ask for something that's really far out. A car ad won't do it.
    Feb 23 1
    • Citibank diegodelav
      Yeah. Auto industry is like one of the biggest spender on ads ever
      Feb 23
  • RackWare WdGfe4
    Facebook can access pretty much anything that goes through their servers and user info that it has permissions to. So it includes everything you upload, your whatsapp calls, messages, pretty much anything on your phone. Or they just pay a third party app to get the collected data.

    If the app has access to your mic, in theory, it could record what you're saying. But building a system that monetizes this info could be a challenge and possiblity of incorrect results are high. With typed data, it's a lot easier.

    If you're so paranoid, just delete the app and don't use facebook.
    Feb 23 0
  • Apple / Eng BangOver
    Dude, this was in the news months ago. The android fb app had the mic on all the time. Also was on the news that fb has allowed companies like amazon to sniff user fb messenger conversation. If it looks like a duck and walks like ducks, then it’s probably a duck.
    Feb 23 2
    • Facebook / Eng
      ImpactMan

      Facebook Eng

      PRE
      Google
      ImpactManmore
      Some bootcamper probably forgot to hook it in to the activities life cycle correctly lmfao
      Feb 23
    • Apple / Eng BangOver
      Sure
      Feb 23
  • Glu Mobile qEVj14
    lol ppl worry about FB listening to them when in real life almost all mobile apps have FB SDK and web got Pixels, just chill, it will be easier for me to show you more of my ads.
    Feb 24 0
  • Facebook RNNAtttn
    This is my favorite thread of all time.
    Feb 23 0
  • GlobalFoundries a++
    Delete the app and use a fb browser such as "frost for Facebook". You would be better off deleting your account though , not just the app
    Feb 23 0
  • Facebook Toki74u
    Wait till you see the ads you’re gonna get after this thread!!!
    Feb 23 0
  • Microsoft hooters
    Think about all the bugs in iPhone and Android. We had Facetime exposing conversations without accepting the call. There could have been many such.
    Feb 23 0

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