Have you been on your computer and seen an ad for the brand of shoes you were just talking about with your coworker? Or seen a link to a special sale that Home Depot is having minutes after you heard about it on your radio?
Coincidence? Maybe not.
Recent reports suggest that this information is being gathered in the sneakiest way. And it all has to do with a certain app that we all use multiple times a day, every day.
We're talking about the Facebook app, specifically its always-listening feature.
According to Kelli Burns, a mass communication professor at the University of South Florida, not only is Facebook gathering information from you based on the conversations you're having, it's showing you ads for products related to what you were talking about.
"The tool appears to be using the audio it gathers not simply to help out users, but to listen in to discussions and serve them with relevant advertising," Burns explained. In an effort to prove her theory, Burns would talk about certain topics with her phone nearby and then observe that ads related to her conversations would appear on her Facebook News Feed.
The Facebook help page explains that it does use audio to identify activity occurring around your phone. They say it does so to make it easier to post about whatever is happening, almost as if it's providing a service to its users.