In Brief

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook does not listen to user conversations for ad targeting

Internet entrepreneur tells US Senate that claims are just ‘conspiracy theory’

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has told the US Senate that there is no truth to claims that the social media site records user audio to improve advert targeting. 

The social network pioneer issued the denial in response to a question from Michigan senator Gary Peters yesterday during a joint hearing of the Senate’s judiciary and commerce committees. 

Zuckerberg told the lawmakers: “You’re talking about this conspiracy theory that gets passed around that we listen to what’s going on on your microphone and use that for ads. We don’t do that.”

Although Facebook can upload videos with audio in them, he explained, there was none of the types of spying that the rumours suggest, says Engadget

CNet reports that the “urban myth” has surrounded the social media site “for years”, resulting in Facebook issuing public denials “on multiple occasions”.

Those denials haven’t reassured everyone, however, with some users reporting that things they discuss in their phone conversations then pop up later in the adverts they see on the social network. 

If you’re not convinced by Zuckerberg’s latest rebuttal, USA Today explains how to block Facebook from accessing your device’s microphone, in the site’s privacy settings, though this will prevent you from uploading videos with sound.

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