There have been long running allegations that Facebook could be listening to users’ private conversation. According to victims of the allegations, the tech giant displays ads, either via Facebook or Instagram, as if on cue after having a private conversation on a matter related to the ad.
Facebook is eavesdropping users
But Facebook denies the allegations vehemently. Speaking to Gayle King of CBS This Morning in an interview, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said that Instagram, and Facebook by extension, does not spy on its users. This was in response to a question by King where she wondered why she keeps seeing ads on a matter she had spoken of in a private conversation.
While Facebook is not spying, the company is eavesdropping on users, but just not conventionally. To be sure, the company uses sophisticated location and demographic data to monitor the behavior of users. They then use this information to serve the consumers ads which are oftentimes correlated to the most recent activities.
Consumer rights activists think that the tech giant is using this advanced technology to stalk users. Using the data collected from user location and demographics, the company can piece together a probable profile which it then uses to present to marketers.
Users lack meaningful control over location information
According to Facebook, users have total control over their ad experience. This is to say that users have the power to determine the kind of data Facebook collects from all channels including location. However, research by experts shows otherwise.
In the research, it is clear that users have few location controls which creates a loophole for Facebook to stalk users.
To be sure, Facebook has an ad preferences page where users can control what ads they see. This means controlling the kind of data the tech giant can collect from them. Unfortunately, there is no any location controls in the ad preferences page. The only logical conclusion here is that FB tracks you even when the app (Facebook or Instagram) is not turned on.
The tracking is also enabled when the user installs the Facebooks apps. Usually, the apps ask for location permission to enable the company to enhance your Facebook/Instagram experience. However, the truth is that this opens the opportunity for them to serve you targeted ads.