Most likely you're one of the 2 billion worldwide Facebook users. If so, you probably know that the social media giant is tracking your every move. It does this to provide users with targeted ads.
But is the company spying on you in other ways? Many people are convinced that Facebook is listening to their conversations. You won't believe the strange ways they're fighting back.
Is Facebook listening to you right now?
Have you noticed just how much information Facebook actually knows about you? It's kinda creepy when you think about it.
Many times I've logged into the site to find a handful of suggestions for people I might know. Some of them are friends from elementary school that I haven't seen in decades. Others are relatives of ex-girlfriends that I've never even met. How is Facebook doing this?
A massive number of users believe that Facebook is constantly listening to them, which the company has been denying for years. It even went so far as to put out an official statement last year, claiming that it doesn't use your phone's microphone to present ads or change what you see in your News Feed.
But people are not buying it and are taking some bizarre steps to fight back. Even Mark Zuckerberg himself has been caught covering the camera and microphone on his computer. The proof is in the picture below.
3 things about this photo of Zuck:
Camera covered with tape
Mic jack covered with tape
Email client is Thunderbird pic.twitter.com/vdQlF7RjQt
— Chris Olson (@topherolson) June 21, 2016
How skeptics are responding to Facebook spying allegations
Users who are skeptical about Facebook's spying denial are taking steps to fight back. The first thing you can do is pretty simple, revoke Facebook's mic permissions.
If you have the Facebook app on an iPhone, open Settings on your phone >> scroll down to the app section and tap Facebook >> you'll see a section titled "Allow Facebook To Access" >> toggle the button next to Microphone to the left, this will turn off the mic. Follow the same steps to turn off the camera.
For Android, open Settings >> Apps >> Facebook >> Permissions and toggle the microphone setting off.
Some people are so freaked out by potentially being spied on they are deleting the Facebook app altogether. One user did this after being convinced the Facebook app was listening to conversations with his wife.
He posted a video on Reddit of the couple discussing cat food, even though they don't have a cat. He then opened the Facebook app and sure enough, the first ad he saw was about cat food.
We showed you earlier Mark Zuckerberg covering his computer's microphone and camera with tape. Some are taking that to the extreme. Instead of covering the mic with tape, they are actually plugging headphones into their computer and cutting off the side with the microphone with scissors. When headphones are plugged into your computer they override the internal mic.
Here's Facebook's official statement on the subject:
"Facebook does not use your phone's microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed. Some recent articles have suggested that we must be listening to people's conversations in order to show them relevant ads. This is not true. We show ads based on people's interests and other profile information - not what you're talking out loud about.
"We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio. This might include recording a video or using an optional feature we introduced two years ago to include music or other audio in your status updates."
Where do you stand on this issue? Do you think Facebook is always listening? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.
If you're concerned about Facebook privacy, here are essential settings you need to change now
Having a Facebook account isn't great for your privacy. If you aren't careful, you could post the wrong thing to the world and get in trouble at work, school, with family or even the law. Plus, hackers and identity thieves can also watch your account. That's why you need to follow these steps to lock down the privacy settings on your Facebook account.