Social Media platforms listening to your spoken conversations in order to serve relevant ads

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by frenchplanner

So I heard of rumours that big social networks are secretly listening to what we verbally say through our phone’s microphones to serve us relevant ads. First heard of this in 2017 and read a few articles debunking this since then. Also working at a big digital marketing agency, we often discuss media ethics so you can say I’m something of an insider.

However, today I got a pretty strange experience. We were discussing over lunch with some colleagues and we started talking about fashion brands (completely random I know). One of my colleagues who’s really into fashion couldn’t believe the rest of us didn’t know a not so well-known brand. Anyways, we kept talking about it after going back to our desks and started quizzing other colleagues on whether they knew that brand or not in order to prove to our colleague that it’s not common knowledge (she was making fun of us for not knowing it). Consensus was that it’s a pretty obscure brand that only fashionistas would know about.

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Fast forward to about 8pm at night, I’m scrolling through Instagram and an ad for that very brand pops up on my newsfeed, causing me to freak out. Didn’t research the brand during the conversations or afterwards, not on Google or on social media or anywhere else. It was purely a verbal conversation.

What do you guys think? Happened to any of you guys? Heard some friends complain about that before but I always thought they somehow researched the product they got an ad for and forgot about it. After all we all perform hundreds of online searches everyday, could be our brains playing a trick on us. But in my case I’m 100% positive I didn’t do any online search (typed or dictated to a virtual assistant), even checked my history.




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