It’s the question of the decade! 

Do a little experiment. Talk to your friends about Spectrum mobile plans and for sure, a few days later, you will see relevant ads on your Facebook feed! Sometimes, your smartphone isn’t even in the same room where the conversation happened and you end up seeing an ad. Things get so obvious that we end up wondering if our phone’s reading our minds or listening to our conversation. It’s sorcery we will try to uncover in this blog.

Is My Smartphone Really Snooping On Me?

To answer that, let’s learn how ads work.

Brands typically receive permission to see your online activities via third-party sites such as your social networking channels and other websites you visit on your phone’s browser. The information they obtain spans from the cookies you accept to your demographic data (age and location), among other things.

They may therefore more precisely target audiences with the features, interests, and preferences which, increases their chances of grabbing a lead or turning a sale. There’s no denying that ad networks and digital marketing firms use data for targeting ads to the most appropriate audience. But there is more to the story.

They use algorithms, AI, and big data for targeting the ads, which is why they are is precise. The more data these brands are able to gather about their target audience, the more precise the campaigns turn out to be. AI fuels everything. It automates the process and reduces the chances of errors. Each ad network or social media has its own algorithm for identifying the time, size, and type of ad to show to maximize the effect. 

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What Do Advertisers Have to Stay About This?

This issue has gathered enough popularity in recent years that big companies have been forced to publish public statements. Google and Facebook have stressed that they do use their smartphones for recording conversations or sounds around the user’s environment. It seems untrue given how accurate their ads are! 

Facebook in a statement expressed that they show ads based on a user’s interest or the information that’s public on the user’s profile. Google kind of followed their suit and said that don’t use ambient noises for targeting ads. 

Apple, on the other hand, was a bit subservient. It admitted that it listens but only when you are using Siri. The company claims they only do it for optimization purposes. However, there is no system in place that stops their servers from recording conversations when the voice assistant is on.

How Does Your Phone Listen to You Exactly? 

The answer to that is both yes and no. there are two ways brands are making use of the audio capturing function of your smartphone. A smartphone is capable of picking up audio in your environment. However, it’s not the same as listening to your conversation unless, of course, you have activated the voice assistant. 

Unless you have uttered the words Ok Google or Hey Siri, you won’t have to worry. Your phone can’t spy on your conversations. Experts say that advertisers are more interested in the sounds of TV ads, movies, and other media which provides them with information about your preferences. This, together with the information you freely share on social media accounts, the cookies you accept on the sites you visit, and the permission you offer, everything together gives brands a picture of who you are and what you like. This makes it easy and possible for them to target you as per your preferences. 

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With that being said, your phone may not be listening to you right now but it sure is capable of.

Can You Stop Your Phone From Spying?

Yes, it is possible to some extent.

Now that you know your phone can pick up sounds, it is not that evil. It usually responds to phrases thrown around by you or others to signal when it should pay attention. It is only dangerous if the voice assistant is on or the phone’s microphone is on. In other situations, it does not secretly record or listen to you.

Make sure no app inside your phone gets access to your phone’s microphone. Go to your phone’s setting to tweak that. Another thing you can do is limit the information you share about yourself on your social media accounts. Don’t make unnecessary information public. Don’t add check-ins or share pictures of yourself. Even if you do share them, don’t make them public.

Summing Up

It’s hard to live in a cave and prevent the websites and social media platforms we use from gathering data about us. But, we can at least be mindful about what we share, where we share, and how much we share. This can come a long way in keeping your personal information secure.

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