Have you ever mentioned a product in spoken conversation only to be advertised that exact product on Facebook soon after?
Well, you would not be alone! Despite Facebook’s constant denials, many people still believe that the social media platform uses device microphones to listen in on real-life conversations to target them with relevant advertisements. More then ever we are talking to technology with the emerging trend of virtual assistants and sharing a wide range of sensitive information with machines. However, how much of that information is shared with social media platforms?
Facebook made over sixteen billion in sales last quarter, and most of its revenue comes from advertising.
If Facebook is not listening to our personal conversations, how does it seem to target us with relevant advertisements?
Methods Facebook uses to establish relevant advertisements:
- Advertisements targeted to a specific demographic.
- Businesses can show Facebook ads to people within certain parameters and can target down to a 1-mile radius of an address.
- Businesses can use the birthdate, gender and city you have entered into your Facebook profile to determine if you fit a demographic.
- Advertisements shown based on a user’s online activity while on or off Facebook.
- Facebook knows what you like and post on its platform. From that data it can determine what advertisements it thinks you will like.
- If you are logged into Facebook on your device and it is running in the background, it can figure out what other sites you browse. This is done with the technology called Facebook Pixel.
- Targeted by a specific company.
- Facebook allows companies to upload email lists of specific users, such as previous customers, that they want to see their advertisements.
- Targeted by a third-party data provider.
- Advertisers can work with third-party marketing services such as Datalogic to find the right customer. These companies use a variety of data sources like credit card information and other customer behaviour to provide information that can be integrated with Facebook or any other advertising platform to target someone.
Here is an infographic created by Kate Lidsay and Maria Zavleta that further explains Facebook’s targeting options:
Still concerned Facebook is listening to your personal conversations?
Here are the steps to revoke the platform’s access to your microphone:
On an iPhone (iOS 9):
- Go to the Settings app
- Scroll down to Facebook, tap it
- Tap “Settings”
- Turn off the slider for Microphone (slider should be grey instead of green)
On an Android:
- Go to Settings
- Swipe over to “Personal”
- Tap “Privacy and safety”
- Tap “App permissions”
- Tap “Microphone”
- Find Facebook, and turn the slider to OFF
I decided to follow these steps on my personal device, will you?
Here is how to stop Facebook from tracking your web activity:
Firefox recently launched the extension “Facebook Container” which helps users control their web activity by isolating their identity into a separate container, stopping Facebook from tracking web activity. When installed, this extension will delete all your Facebook cookies and if you are logged into Facebook, will log you out while you are browsing the web.
Will you be utilizing this tool the next time you search the web?
What steps have you taken to share less information with social media platforms?
Have you been targeted on Facebook by advertisers? Read all about Facebook’s advertising techniques today! #TargetedAdvertising https://bit.ly/2GKVvr0
Is Facebook psychic? Read about targeted advertisements here: https://bit.ly/2GKVvr0