WE’VE all had that sneaking suspicion our phones are spying on us.
One moment you’re chatting about buying new jeans or tickets abroad, and all of a sudden ads for those products flood your social media feeds.
Instagram boss Adam Mosseri[/caption]
Now Instagram’s boss has been forced to deny claims the company is snooping on its users through their phones.
Adam Mosseri, 36, reckons creepily accurate ads appear in our Insta feeds because we’ve recently looked at a product online – but then forgotten.
“You might be talking about something because it’s top of mind because you’ve been interacting with that type of content more recently,” Mosseri told US broadcaster CBS.
“So maybe you’re really into food and restaurants. You saw a restaurant on Facebook or Instagram and you really like the thing. It’s top of mind, maybe it’s subconscious and then it bubbles up later. I think this kind of thing happens often in a way that’s really subtle.”
We’ve all had that sneaking suspicion our phones are spying on us. Social media firms deny they’re snooping through our microphones[/caption]
The jury’s still out on whether or not Instagram, Facebook and other companies secretly listen to us.
Social media firms insist they don’t, but there are countless stories of people seeing adverts for things they’ve been talking about – but not searching – popping up on their phones.
Even CBS’ Gayle King, who spoke to Mosseri, has his suspicions.
“I swear I think you guys are listening. I know you’re gonna say you’re not,” King said.
Earlier this year, Sun Online’s Miranda Knox investigated whether our mobile phones are spying on us.
She pulled together a list of topics – businesscards, spandex, vegan food – that she had never Googled before, and began talking about them in earshot of her phone.
Within days she was inundated with ads related to these key words.
These included an advert offering 50 per cent off her first purchase of business cards and an advert for healthy vegan meal plans.
For what it’s worth, privacy experts largely agree that social media firms aren’t spying on us.
Many Instagram fans have creepy stories involving suspicious ads[/caption]
Jake Laperruque at the Constitution Project, recently told CNET there are many reasons creepily accurate ads may plague our phones.
Ads can be targeted in countless ways, many so complex and simple that they don’t seem obvious or natural, he said.
“[People] usually say, ‘I can’t imagine another way for this to get onto me for advertising’,” Laperruque explained.
“Think outside the box. What about location-based advertising, or what a friend is searching? Just spend a few minutes thinking about how much data companies have.”
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Do you think your phone spies on you? Let us know in the comments!