Does Facebook Listen to Your Conversations?
Updated: Jan 20
Here’s how it works.
Facebook, along with most developers, adds a tiny pixel piece of code to your website and mobile apps. This code collects anonymized data for FB to aggregate websites you’ve visited, how much time was spent, products purchased, all your habits!
Your Facebook newsfeed uses this along with hundreds of other data points like age, friends, what you click on, and even where you post to determine which ad to place in front of you...and when.
All of this is done in groups of people. You’re probably less unique than you may think.
You’re shopping for a dress. You take a looksie at www.reallycooldressesineed.com, then back to Facebook and Instagram. Strangely, you start getting ads for other dress stores and even a website like “Top 10 Best Dresses for 2022!"
So back to "Is Facebook listening to us? " Remember how they studied your habits? Everyone’s habits? You and Dave decide to go out for dinner. Facebook knows!
How? Aggregate data.
Your's and Dave’s devices were nearby for about an hour but not at your house right around dinner time.
Remember that bit of code? Facebook knows the last ten websites or articles you’ve read. It bets that you had conversations about them. Right after dinner, it shows you each an ad based on the other person's browsing history. You didn’t discuss 9 of 10 of the websites the other person visited, so you don't even notice that you're getting ads based on the others browsing history.
But what you do notice, what stands out, is the one you happened to talk about.
And therefore, we conclude that Facebook has been listening.
In reality, they are only using data and intelligent modeling. And it’s already so adept that we think it’s listening to our conversations. Wait until it reads our thoughts.