You’ve probably heard this conspiracy theory: Facebook is spying on your microphone in order to know what ads to serve in your news feed. The truth is that Facebook doesn’t need to do that.
“Facebook doesn’t use the microphone of your phone in order to serve ads or to influence your newsfeed in any way” a Facebook rep told Wall Street Journal.
Other experts, including former Facebook employees said that there aren’t technical means or legal means for this to be true.
So, why does Facebook serve ads for products and services that you are really interested in that sometimes it feels like Facebook is in the room with you hearing what you talk about ? Because Facebook has become so good in tracking your behavior online.
For example, if you’re using a gift card at a shop, the shopping history can be recorded so that Facebook can tell which ads to serve in your newsfeed. A data collector gathers this information from stores. Retailers buy this data and use them to correlate sales information with their Facebook accounts..
Your location history is stored by Facebook and other companies by using different methods: IP addresses, Wi-Fi networks. Let’s suppose a company that makes cold medicine targets an area where this condition is frequent. With the help of location services this company knows to display cold medicine ads to the right people.
Facebook has a software product called Facebook Pixel. Facebook Pixel shows is the ad of a company has reached the right people by using thousand of websites and apps that collect browsing history. Facebook uses this information and everything it knows from your profile to serve you the right ads, ads for products and services you are really interested in.