Forget Big Brother, Facebook Is Watching (And Listening) To Everything You Do

Tyler Durden's picture

It’s irresistible, enticing and addicting.  And, as reports, it’s available 24-hours a day all over the world to billions of people. Facebook beckons to users seemingly with a two-prong approach – both the pressure and pleasure to post. We share stories, photos, triumphs and tragedies. It is ingrained into our daily lives so deeply that studies show people check Facebook, on average, 14 times a day.  With all those eyes all over the globe dialed in and the purchasing power available, the online giant has tapped into a controversial delivery of data into its intelligence gathering.  It all starts with something that you may not even realize is enabled on your phone.

A little-known feature deeply embedded in Facebook's privacy settings is causing users to think twice aboutnot just what they write but what they say. As's Clarice Palmer explains...

The debate over Internet privacy and the responsibility social media companies should carry in protecting user privacy never ceases to spark controversy — among both users and tech insiders. But while Facebook, one of the most popular social media networks, struggles with accusations of news suppression and even fraud, a new report on the network’s microphone settings is reigniting past fears of surveillance that were never fully addressed.


According to University of South Florida Professor Kelli Burns, Facebook is a huge part of the lives of smartphone users. Due to this widespread addiction, Burns explains, “Anytime you’re using your phone, any kind of information that you’re putting into your phone, looking at on your phone, Facebook can access that.” But details regarding what you’re doing or what you’re browsing while on Facebook are not the only type of data the Silicon Valley giant can access. The social media’s microphone feature, which can be enabled by the user via Facebook’s settings, is also listening.


A few months back, a Facebook user took their concerns over the microphone settings to Reddit. The post quickly went viral, prompting Facebook to issue a statement on the matter. According to the social media network, the company does not “record your conversations.” Instead, the statement claimed, if the user chooses to turn the microphone feature on, Facebook will “use your microphone to identify the things you’re listening to or watching based on the music and TV matches we’re able to identify. If this feature is turned on, it’s only active when you’re writing a status update.”


But According to ABC’s WFLA, Burns might have been able to prove Facebook isn’t telling the whole story behind this technology.


From the publication:


We tested the theory with Kelli, and even we were surprised by what we found and saw.


“Kelli enabled the microphone feature and talked about her desire to go on safari, right down to her mode of transportation. ‘I’m really interested in going on an African safari. I think it’d be wonderful to ride in one of those jeeps,’ she said aloud, phone in hand.


“Less than 60 seconds later, the first post on her Facebook feed was a safari story that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Turns out, it was a story that had been posted three hours earlier. And, after mentioning a jeep, a car ad also appeared on her page.”


This test, the news organization contended, demonstrates how Facebook picks up “buzz words” in order to show that particular user ads and posts matching their interests. The fact the professor made those comments after turning the feature on may serve as an example of how easily Facebook can trick users into giving the company access to their private conversations.


Though Facebook claims it does not store or share user information, the very existence of the technology may give hackers, including government-backed security experts, a reason to explore private data further, putting the privacy — and even safety — of Facebook users in danger. What’s more concerning about this issue is the company’s previous association with the U.S. National Security Agency’s PRISM program, which gave federal agents access to users’ private data, including, emails, photos, and instant messages, among other things. While Facebook’s more recent claims concerning user privacy regarding the microphone feature might be legitimate, the company’s former cooperation with NSA officials could indicate the feds may seek to explore the microphone feature — whether Facebook agrees with them or not.


Smart TV manufacturers like Samsung have recently been forced to publicly address privacy concerns after news broke the technology was listening to users’ conversations. As the same users learn Android Smart TVs may also present vulnerabilities that give hackers the ability to record what they do, other members of the tech industry, like Facebook, might also face growing obstacles and skepticism from users.


In contrast, though Apple has aligned with the federal government in at least one case, the company was widely praised for standing for privacy rights in a legal standoff involving the FBI over the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. But unlike Apple, whose hesitation regarding lobbying practices has earned negative attention from Congress in the past, Facebook has a relatively cozy relationship with Washington. Whether this relationship is mutually beneficial to both parties — and whether Facebook will respond like Apple has — remains to be seen.

But Market-Ticker's Karl Denninger rages further - demanding an answer to "how is this legal?"

...the article Facebook appears to confirm that it does indeed use your microphone -- which means it listens to and uploads the contents of speech and other sound around you when you are using the app.


Explain to me, if you would, why you'd ever allow such a device in your pocket?  Further, please explain to me exactly why you believe Facebook would only use this for "ad targeting"..... when there is literally nothing to prevent them from doing otherwise.


And finally, please explain why this is legal and Facebook and its officers are not under criminal indictmentparticularly when you consider that people other than you may well speak within the listening range of your microphone, and while you may have given consent they did not and further, they had no idea they were being recorded!


So you want to have a conversation with me, eh?  Well I don't consent to being recorded, and in many states (including Florida) unless said recorder is either openly and notoriously present and thus obvious (giving me the clear option to refuse to talk to you in its presence) or you have my consent it's a felony to make that recording in any situation where I reasonably believe I'm not being taped or overheard.


Oh by the way, the use to which you put the recording is immaterial; it is not legal in this state to do so for "purely" advertising purposes; any such use is unlawful and in fact it is a felony in this state.


Heh Zuckerpig -- your ass ought to be indicted for this crap, and Florida is not alone in criminalizing this activity.

*  *  *

And finally, here is a media design professor exposing how his Facebook provacy settings were opted back in without notice or consent...

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skinwalker's picture

I'll bet when the chips are down Suckerberg will squeal and offer a bribe to save his sorry ass. 

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

>> Facebook
>> Foolbook
Facebook is a digital plantation for voluntary slaves.

schatzi's picture

who the fuck uses this shit? never had an account, never fucking will

WTFRLY's picture



Sarah Whittle: [reads] 'They grow much faster than bamboo / Take care or they'll come after you'.

[Jungle plants start to grow]

Alan Parrish: Oh, great...

Sarah Whittle: [whimpers] Oh, God, tell me this isn't happening!

Alan Parrish: Oh, it is.

[Alan, Sarah, Peter, and Jud huddle close to each other in the middle of the room]

Alan Parrish: Stay away from the walls; don't touch anything. No quick movements. 

NidStyles's picture

That anyone thinks any of these devices are secure is laughable. The device itself is the problem, not the service/app/website.

JohninMK's picture

Not just Facebook.

Microsoft is trying to play rapid catchup in the data suck in stakes with Windows 10's astonishing ability to garner everthing, including say keystrokes, if you are not very very very carefull with monitoring your privacy settings. Now where is that old copy of XP?

As they say, if you don't pay for the product, you are the product.

beemasters's picture

Google too. I just found out they keep a record of all the id's, models, brands of devices you ever used with your signed in name (even when you have given them away). There is no option to delete or opt out of it. Why? Of course, it's always for "security reasons".

wintermute's picture

Agreed. I will never use this shit spyware allowing detail of my personal life to be vacuumed into the archives of government agencies and big corporations. That is insanely stupid. A whole generation is going to learn the bitter lessons from this.

Oldrepublic's picture

Airbnb actually requires you to have a facebook account to sign up.

It is possible to get an account without FB but it is very difficult,perhaps other companies have a similar policy

HedgeAccordingly's picture

Deleted Facebook account in 2009. Joined 2004. Facebook never deletes you account. Your data is there forever. big data supports facebook's multiple.

skinwalker's picture

I dumped my account around '06, but I'm sure it's still there, spying on me. 


Could one write a script to generate millions of fake user accounts with tons of irrelevant data in them to swamp facebook's data analysis systems? Would such a thing be of any value? 

Mr. Bystander's picture

It says a lot about those who still have an account. Either they are oblivious to the overreach of power and abuse, or they're too naive. Same way they look at the government. The entire site is a living, breathing social experiment. The same people who don't deactivate their accounts when abuse occurs are the same people who won't stand up to their government when similar things happen. Most Americans are either scared, uninformed, or indifferent.

NurseRatched's picture

Think for one minute: why would Facebook be free to me unless I was what was being sold to others?

JuliaS's picture

Facebook thrives upon fake accounts. Since it generates revenue by selling clicks to advertisers, the more fake traffic is manufactured, the more it can charge for sales that never materialize.

Squid Viscous's picture

why did you losers even have Facefuck acct? low self esteem issues?

better to see a shrink than try to compensate...

skinwalker's picture

I had one because I was 19 and the chick I was trying to have sex with had one. 

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) skinwalker May 31, 2016 3:59 PM

You mean you had a REAL life?!    Holy cow,  I didn't know you people came to ZH?   

Many of the abnormal ZH'ers will pass judgement on your activities in REAL life and you will scorned (unless you say:  "End the Fed" enough times).

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) Billy the Poet May 31, 2016 4:22 PM

Yeah,  i've notice that.

Squid Viscous's picture

why not just take her out a few times, make her laugh then get her in the sack ... if she says no, move on...

what the fuck does facefuck have to do with you getting laid or not, pathetic

skinwalker's picture

I ended up losing my virginity to that chick, but it all fell apart, which was probably for the best because last I heard she OD'd on cocaine. Plus, she only had 75% of one kidney to start with. 

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) skinwalker May 31, 2016 4:16 PM

You had immoral sex, with a drug adict, on Facebook.   Boy,  you are as bad as some of "those people". 

skinwalker's picture

There's nothing inherently wrong with having sex with an addict. Back in my drugging days, I did it often. 

Oldrepublic's picture

it is very difficult to cancel a FB account. Took me one half hour of web searching to find method of deleting account and thenf the account is still active for 14 days

budd_dwyers_gun's picture

Speechless after reading that. Great link.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

160531, the day Skynet was born...

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) May 31, 2016 3:33 PM

Jeezzz,  these are the same people voting Red and Blue Team.   Do they actually "think"?

Emergency Ward's picture

Thinking was a construct of dead white European males.  It has no significance in today's culture.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

Fortunately, thinking European males are still not an extinct species.

trollster's picture
trollster (not verified) May 31, 2016 3:36 PM

All your privacy are belongs to us.

Yen Cross's picture

   Facefuck and that Ginger faced tard Zuckerfuck, can milk my one eyed German, with a turtle neck sweater on. ;-)

Squid Viscous's picture

someone needs to curb stomp sucker burglar.

at least get a chik that doesn't look like the missing link to the yellow race, you fucking kike

Consuelo's picture

From Khazaria to the land of Shem.   Or, from Trotsky to Mao if you prefer - either way.







ISawThatToo's picture
ISawThatToo (not verified) Consuelo May 31, 2016 4:42 PM

Banabit #83

Your comment touches upon something that very few know, and that is that Mao--Communist China--was "advised," controlled, by a cadre of Jews/Khazarians. Look it up (LIU).

Ditto Cambodia's Khmer  Rouge.

The thing is, when one steps outside their brainwashing, and dons an intellecual pair of "Roddy-Piper" glasses, the world become much less confusing, even predictable.

Just last night I found out that the quite Unconstitutional HUAAC was actually created by Jews/Khazarians in 1934. They desired to use it to target those that were resisting the Khazarians' use of unions, and other schemes, to destroy Goy businesses, like the Disney Company. They would use the committee to label those that resisted them as as "Nazis" and "antisemetic." (LIU).

Chandos's picture

«someone needs to curb stomp sucker burglar.»

I propose Taylor Swift..I'm sure she's a very good curb stomper..I have a sixth sense for these sort of things......

Skiprrrdog's picture

Its the whole simmering, closet lesbian thing she has going on...

ISawThatToo's picture
ISawThatToo (not verified) May 31, 2016 3:41 PM

Banbait #80
Protocols 17:7 "Our kingdom will be an apologia of the divinity Vishnu, in whom is found its personification - in our hundred hands will be, one in each, the springs of the machinery of social life. We shall see everything without the aid of official police which, in that scope of its rights which we elaborated for the use of the Goyim, hinders governments from seeing. In our programs one-third of our subjects will keep the rest under observation from a sense of duty, on the principle of volunteer service to the State. It will then be no disgrace to be a spy and informer, but a merit: unfounded denunciations, however, will be cruelly punished that there may be no development of abuses of this right."

Yeah, it's in there.

U4 eee aaa's picture

I'm glad to know that if any of those libs read or listen to what I propagate they will be reprogrammed :)

Shizzmoney's picture

A) Try not to have facebook.  It's hard not to as most people use it as a way to keep up with family and friends who have moved away (without having to actually communicate with them), but it's mostly better to not just have one.  However, if you must....

B) Don't EVER download the phone app.  It's awful.  It's slow.  It installs cookie trackers on your phone.  It hogs memory and battery usage.  And it bypasses most ad blockers (unless you know java).  It's essentially malware.  If you have to use FB on your phone, use it via browser.  

C) If using on a browser, after your session ALWAYS log off.  Use incognito mode.  It's annoying as shit but FB, as long as you are logged in, will track every single cookie you visit (so that it's ad/content system can target you when you use the site).  God knows if they are keeping this dat and who they are giving/selling it to.

D) Don't ever link your main phone number or your main email to your personal account.  Use burners.  People can search you if your phone number or email is linked to your account.  This is obv different if you are using FB for page for your business; you'd in that case want FB to be setup for people to find you.  

E) Lock your account so only your friends can see pictures and posts. Restrict as much public visibility as possible via the settings page. Employers WILL try to infiltrate your FB.  Crazed ex-lovers will creep your page.  It's just a fact of life.

Happy NSA and corporate eluding

TradingIsLifeBrah's picture
TradingIsLifeBrah (not verified) Shizzmoney May 31, 2016 3:47 PM

Samsung now preloads their phone with the Facebook app which you can not delete. See my comment below for more info.  You don't have a choice on Android about not wanting Facebook on your phone :(

Billy the Poet's picture

Androids aren't supposed to have choices.

beemasters's picture

Yes. Root your Android phone and uninstall all the bloatwares. Your warranty may be void, so root if your warranty period has expired. Alternatively, back up your ROM, root and restore only if needed in the future.

Skiprrrdog's picture

Thats an easy one... no Samsung phones... problem solved...

Sokhmate's picture

Root your Android phone. Install superuser. Use Titanium backup to delete or freeze facebook / other apps. There was an app called PDroid that allowed the user to control what apps get access to. That app unfortunately hasn't been updated for more recent android OS's in years.