A video recently was posted to Reddit, which examined whether or not an experiment to say something within the presence of a microphone would spur ads from Facebook or Google to match the content of a conversation.
The video claims that yes in fact, if you have a conversation in the presence of a phone or computer microphone, and for instance mention something like maybe diamond rings, that diamond rings, the subject of your conversation will suddenly pop up in your advertisements.
The description of the video from Mitchhollow reads:
“Does Google and Facebook listen in and record conversations and audio even when they’re not open? I perform a live test on google to discover whether google listens to my microphone even when my browser is turned off to target it’s advertisements better.”
The comments on the video are fairly skeptical surprisingly, and they read:
“probably had someone in the other room typing about dog stuff… sorry, but you can easily watch your traffic and see there is nothing going on when you don’t do it yourself – nothing significant enough to be all the text you are saying. It’s not conclusive unless 100 people reproduce it. And even then, believe NONE of what you hear and only HALF of what you see.”
“I’m pretty sure thats cortana, not google. Not that its any better, but at least I understand whats going on. Chrome isn’t running. It can’t access the microphone. Usually a browser has permissions that will ask you “can we use your microphone”. Cortana feeds this to the advertisers and the ads come up. I think both google and facebook are complacent in this behavior but hey what do you want, billionares need money.”
“Not saying the mic didn’t play a role and initially gave you ads for dog toys, but I’d also guess if you click on an ad for something, it will show you more of that stuff. So when you clicked on the dog toy ads it might have messed it up and shown you more. Similar to how amazon shows you similar stuff that you click on.”
“You missed the ad on fark instantly 😀 How does chrome get access to your microphone without even running? It has to be related to Windows 10 listening in”
It was surprising to see that so many people were skeptical of the idea that Google or Facebook collect data through a person’s microphone, even with all this news being made about Cambridge Analytica.
Perhaps that is because by this time, in this decade to some people who have seen people talk about this, it sounds gimmicky or fake when a person makes a piece of content that is suggesting this.
They might believe it is fake, or as one commenter suggested that somebody was using the Google account in another room to make the ads pop up that were similar conversation, because people have tried to push this type of thing true or false to get views. Maybe those are bot accounts commenting or upvoting them.
So while this kind of data collection certainly happens, it’s interesting to note that a person’s presentation style or the possibility of it being fake could dissuade people from investigating any type of surveillance.
People need to not throw the baby out with the bathwater: even if a fake video were made like this, haven’t you heard a friend say they said something around their phone and then ads about that came up?
Google really listening to my phone conversations .
I’m talking to my mate about how to become a pilot . I then go you YouTube and type “how to …” and the first suggestion is “how to become a pilot … “
Invasion of privacy….
— 🦋Skuuur❄️ (@xxDPSMxx) April 13, 2018
Similar to telescreen in the book modern day gadgets like Google Home are constantly listening to our conversations https://t.co/bDAMkFxE1Y
— Makenzie Van Buren (@Makenzie_Brutus) April 13, 2018
While all this Facebook stuff is in the news, did you know that Mark Zuckerberg himself disables his microphone and camera with tape?
The moral of the story is: tape every mic and camera on your laptops, smartphones, and all devices. It’s not paranoid, it’s rebellious against a policy of data collection that shouldn’t exist.
(Image credit: simplecapacity)