Facebook: "No, we don't record your conversations"
Responding to reports claiming it clandestinely turns on microphone of its users' phones, Facebook has denied rumors of eavesdropping.
Reports went viral last week suggesting Facebook could be listening to its user to help businesses serve targeted ads. These reports were based on The Independent's report that quoted a University of South Florida professor who claimed the social networking site served her ads on products she had discussed with her phone nearby. She suspected advertisers were being served audio information to develop targeted advertising.
According to other reports, Facebook does indeed use the microphone to listen in and help users post what they are seeing or listening but only at the behest of the user. This feature can easily be disabled. Facebook has denied using the microphone to listen or store raw audio for advertising.
"Facebook does not use microphone audio to inform advertising or News Feed stories in any way. Businesses are able to serve relevant ads based on people's interests and other demographic information, but not through audio collection," a statement from the company here, reads.
A Facebook post from the company further explains use of this feature. "No, we don't record your conversations. If you choose to turn on song identification, we'll only use your phone's microphone to try to identify the song you're listening to based on the music we're able to identify. If song identification is turned on, it's only active if you tap Feeling/Activity when writing a post and only for the limited time period when you are writing the post," the company said adding that the feature is available in the US.
Concerns that user data with social media companies may be compromised or used in ways other than authorized, have been around for a while. In the recent case however, Facebook seemed to have set the record right.