Whistle Blower Claims Facebook Listens to You

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Joe Scudder
Written by Joe Scudder

Though the company denies it, he says that Facebook listens so they can place contextual ads.

According to Christoper Wylie, not only Facebook listens to you but so do other apps on your phone. I’m not sure this reflects as badly on Facebook as it does on the technology of recent smartphones. Who would think that customers would want to be under constant audio surveillance? Why would anyone make a phone that could be used to spy on them without the phone’s user being aware of what it was doing?

PJ Media reports, “Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower: Facebook Able to Listen to You at Home and Work.

The British parliament is investigating Cambridge Analytica’s involvement in the Brexit election. MP Damian Collins, who chaired the committee, asked Wyle whether Facebook has the ability to listen to what people are talking about in order to better target them with ads.

[…]

“On a comment about using audio and processing audio, you can use it for, my understanding generally of how companies use it… not just Facebook, but generally other apps that pull audio, is for environmental context,” Wylie said. “So if, for example, you have a television playing versus if you’re in a busy place with a lot of people talking versus a work environment.” He clarified, “It’s not to say they’re listening to what you’re saying. It’s not natural language processing. That would be hard to scale. But to understand the environmental context of where you are to improve the contextual value of the ad itself” is possible.

Wylie continued: “There’s audio that could be useful just in terms of are you in an office environment, are you outside, are you watching TV?”

Facebook has long denied allegations that its app listens in on users in order to customize ads.

Is Christopher Wyle reliable as a witness? I honestly don’t know. He has made some rather frightening allegations about people being threatened in connection to Facebook’s campaigns. Furthermore, he claims that it is possible that his predecessor was poisoned, though he’s not sure.

Ultimately, we’ll have to hope the media investigates his claims and is able to confirm or deny them..

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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