top 200 commentsshow 500
[–]youdonotnome 1784 points  
put your phone in front of the spanish channel for a couple of days and see what happens
[–]VanessaH4005 411 points  
So this is why my I keep getting ads in Spanish... my mom blasts her novelas, normally, I don't watch them with her. About 2 months ago I started to join her and all of my advertisements switched to Spanish, despite me using English exclusively on my phone.
[–]Sunny_McJoyride 165 points  
So what kind of adverts do you get? Where to have your fortune told? how to make a rich man fall in love with you? how to murder a rival? how to convince doctors you're not insane?
[–]VanessaH4005 98 points  
Lol. Are we watching the same novelas? Just kidding, they're all the same..
[–]AppleGuySnake 14 points  
Yep, I was getting targeted ads on Pandora and realized I had tracking data from incognito windows that didn't have Ghostery enabled. Went to once and started getting spanish language ads. (Which are way less irritating to listen to, so I went back a few more times)
[–]siccoblue 620 points  
Just putting in here that I've also seen Google do this, I went to my mother's for dinner and she was scraping out a giant squash with a fork, I asked her what she was making and she said spaghetti squash, sure enough.. My Google now cards were popping up with recipes and it was in my search suggestions, the same thing happened after talking about seeing the new spongebob movie, it started showing me local theater times for that one movie, I made a post months ago, lemme see if I can find it
BOOM found it, and I was down voted for posting it
[–]The_Colorman 58 points  
I know a lot of people are saying this is bs, you have to "ok Google" first. I just recreated it easily. I just said spongebob squarepants like 4 times, then sang the theme song to my phone. It was at the home screen with Google search bar widget. (there not selected) Closed the phone, waited 2 min, refreshed Google now and bam. Guess what's showing tonight at 7pm on nickelodeon. I've never searched or seen anything about spongebob before. 
[–]siccoblue 11 points  
See! Exactly!! It's obviously running your mic 24/7 listening to conversations, not just "OK Google" 
That's understandable on mine because it's a special feature and has a processor designated to listening for my hands free trigger but that is absolutely fucked, they're searching for keywords constantly as a form of probably the most effective targeted advertising out there
[–]lordboos 157 points  
If you have google now set to from any screen, it is supposed to do exactly this.
[–]libertyfrog 39 points  
No. When activated it explicitly states it is only listening for "ok Google".
[–]rangeo 5 points  
To react to OK GOOGLE it has to listen and analyze everything it hears.
[–]AppleGuySnake 24 points  
Corporations explicitly state lots of things.
[–]siccoblue 65 points  
Listen to conversations? I think it's more related to the moto x always listening to thing but I could be wrong
[–]lordboos 27 points  
Listen to everything and serve you content in google now based on it.
[–]Jackie_Jormp-Jomp 20 points  
What? I thought it was specifically listening for the keyword.
[–]ForgotUserID 74 points  
It is. It constantly listens for "Ok Google" and anything said after that until search completes.
They're wrong and throwing half truths around.
[–]eyal0 19 points  
Did she search for a recipe on her WiFi before you went over there? Did you use the same WiFi?
[–]siccoblue 10 points  
She doesn't have WiFi, just uses her phone for everything cause she's grandfathered into unlimited data with Verizon
[–]brandnamenerd 20 points  
Have you done that? I want to know without the effort, dammit!
[–]LordKwik 13 points  
I spent one day at my grandmother's house as she was watching TV. She speaks as much English as I do Spanish, barely enough to get by but can't read or write it. Anyway, I've been answering Google Opinion Rewards for well over a year now. I never admitted to knowing Spanish. My next survey after my trip was completely in Spanish. I had to Google translate every question and answer >_>
[–]crisissituation 1350 points  
[–]Abioticadam 817 points  
Right?! Why is everyone ignoring this. They have been open about the fact that they listen to you and the songs and TV you watch. Why not the conversations you have?
[–]Imtroll 495 points  
Because when you installed it you agreed to it having control of almost everything on your phone. 
That menu that pops up when you hit install that shows you what faculties the app will have control of? Yeah you read it and dismissed it. Its pretty clear that it says microphone. 
Idk why anyone uses Facebook. They've been getting significantly worse over the years. Google is just as bad. 
[–]Drudicta 525 points  
Yes, yes, but Google does not advertise cocks to me all over the place simply because I mention them in the presence of my phone multiple times per day.
And trust me, I LOVE cock.
And cheesecake. But I don't get advertisements for that either.
[–]brooslee 458 points  
Prepare your inbox for a flood of cheescake pics. 
[–]steveinaccounting 101 points  
I expect you will be receiving ads for massive cocks made of cheesecake any time now. I hope, sincerely, that you enjoy that. 
FYI: I'll eat cheesecake in any form. I don't care how bodacious the cock looks, if it's made of cheesecake, I'm there.
[–]Jellyra 47 points  
It came pre-installed on my phone. It is not uninstallable. Ah jeez.
[–]Crypt0An0n23 15 points  
Root > Flash new ROM
[–]l3esitos 12 points  
A ROM isn't even necessary. Install Link2SD, and uninstall any unwanted system application.
Just be careful. 
[–]afakefox 12 points  
Can you do a factory reset if you accidentally get rid of something important? Am I able to delete 'Google' things? There's so many on my Android, but I don't know if they are part of the... operating system (? not sure if that's what I mean) or what I would look up to find out.
[–]faz712 25 points  
you can probably disable it if you can't uninstall
[–]GODDAMNFOOL 18 points  
Microphone use is a requirement for video recording, though. 
[–]red-eye-rob 13 points  
because everyone started using because it was revolutionising the way we communicate with people.. and then they slowly slowly began to infiltrate more into our lives. People wont stop using facebook unless something pretty serious happens to make people stop trusting them
[–]summerthan 8 points  
This is right though the agreement states that Facebook is allowed to use your camera and I'm assuming mic. I do not have Facebook anymore because of this. 
[–]mcgillycuddy412 15 points  
Guess I'm uninstalling that app.
[–]Iohet 22 points  
Don't install those apps. Pretty straightforward. Use their mobile websites if you must. If you have an OS that gives you granular control of permissions, perhaps try that. 
[–]rempel 24 points  
I remain skeptical, mostly for my own sanity. But... Facebook did say earlier in the year that they would be using this for ad targeting "in the future". 
[–]DrogoDeserto 65 points  
can confirm: we are in the future
[–]Spider_Dude 46 points  
🎶 In the year 2000.
In the year 2 0 0 0 ! !! 🎶
[–]funkengruven 20 points  
But now as I read your comment, you are in the past! So I'm your future, until the moment after you read the comment, then it's the past again. Damn time!
[–]bassinine 17 points  
the future hasn't happened yet.
edit: dammit, it just happened.
[–]mrgreen999 177 points  
The feature described in those articles explains how it is opt-in and only happens while you are posting an update to your news feed. 
There are a lot of people in this thread who think the Facebook app is constantly eavesdropping on their conversations. Not only would this place considerable drain on your battery and network usage, but it would violate the Apple app store policies.
Facebook isn't constantly eavesdropping on conversations - not because it doesn't want to, but because there are serious hardware and platform limitations.
Facebook of course would be gathering data from you in other ways though.
[–]jaypeg25 95 points  
Came through here from the /r/bestof thread. I have an Android though.
First of all, Facebook battery drain is horrendous. It's constantly pinging the phone for things, is it that outside the realm of possibility that it turns on the speaker when it does?
Second of all, you think it's possible that in the same way Google has implemented "OK Google" as a way of turning on the phone to listen to audio (which works at all times, through all aps, and even when the screen is off), that Facebook could have set a similar system up where it picks up after certain phrases are said, like "buy" or "go to the store", etc.?
[–]mcgillycuddy412 16 points  
It doesn't matter. If they're using that to serve me ads, I'm not interested. They already have WAY too much data on me, fuck them if they think I'm going to let them start using my phone's microphone.
[–]unkle_jimmy 438 points  
Man, I wish I wasn't so late to the conversation cause I've wanted to talk about this for a long time now. Last year I was working up in Northern Alberta and one day at lunch we started talking about our favorite snacks and I mentioned these Tamari almonds I had once. I hadn't had or heard or thought of these things for a long time. Next thing I know my Facebook add space is full of Tamari flavoured everything. 
There were a couple things about this that bothered me first of course was that this couldn't be a coincidence it had to have picked up that I was talking about Tamari and second that it recognized my voice out of a room full of guys talking about their favorite snacks. Now I'm not sure if I feel better or worse reading so many similar stories to mine.
[–]ohohomestuck 26 points  
Doing an experiment. I mentioned Tamari almonds in casual conversation three times quite clearly next to my phone. Will update if I start seeing anything Tamari flavored.
[–]unkle_jimmy 44 points  
Honestly, despite the alarming sense of being watched, I was pretty pumped when I found a place close to my home that was selling Tamari Almonds.
[–]MikeBigJohnson 61 points  
Good thing you weren't talking about Banging guys, right?
[–]NoXander007 29 points  
Tamari covered only please.
[–]NoXander007 21 points  
This has happened to friends of mine and myself, I'm pretty convinced that either FB or something connected to FB is doing it and I hate it.
It doesn't help that you uninstall either, so I'm pretty sure it's not the FB app directly that does this, but then again what's the point of running a barebones phone if you want apps on it?
This feels violating.
[–]ALighterShadeOfPale 172 points  
Oh my god thank you! People think I'm crazy!!
I was talking to my boss about contacting canon for a wireless printer she wanted. The next day, suggested post
Then on Wednesday I was talking to y coworker about how my brothers girlfriend likes goats.
Suggested video!
And these are only the most recent. I've been noticing this for months!!
People think I'm nuts so I've started taking screenshots. 
[–]citricacidx 504 points  
Happened to me once. Movie was on tv, said a quote that was later in the movie. Within an hour there was at shirt with the very quote in an ad on my fiancée's Facebook (she has the app, I use the website because of this and other spying things the app does).
[–]NewHoustonian[S] 317 points  
We found a roach in our apartment (very common in my part of the world). We were complaining about it and the need for pest control. Within 10 minutes I had an ad on my Facebook feed for a local pest control place. Never ever ever have a seen a similar ad on Facebook. 
The rationalist in me wanted to say that it must have to do with the time of year and the frequency of roach problems in my area, but the coincidence was enough to give me pause. 
[–]greenit_elvis 100 points  
Why don't you (or anybody else) just do a controlled experiment? Talk about something you never normally talk about, and see what ads you get. FB are good, but I don't think they're smart enough to realize that you're testing themm
[–]ZombieTesticle 183 points  
"Hey, Dave. Do you think I should join ISIS or Al Qaida?"
[–]jps74 104 points  
Aaaand now your on the no fly list 
[–]ZombieTesticle 67 points  
Good. All that yellowcake uranium is best transported by ship anyway.
[–]Blitzedkrieg 17 points  
Mmmm yellowcake
[–]giygas73 7 points  
i think for it to be properly controlled he would have to survey what ads were being displayed before talking about the target phrase as well (to rule out confirmation bias) and then compare that list with the results after talking about the target phrase
[–]azyalon 37 points  
It could have been a geotargeted ad. If someone else in your apartment complex called in with a Roach problem then the exterminator company could've taken the opportunity to target every mobile platform within a quarter mile. It makes good business sense and is a legitimate thing that is being done in marketing right now. The chances you have roaches since a neighbor does too are significant.
[–]radical13 62 points  
You do realize that you give Facebook access to your microphone when you agree to installation and updates? There's a reason I don't have the app (many reasons, actually) and you should consider getting rid of it if this freaks you out.
[–]EleanorofAquitaine 28 points  
This was a reason I deleted the app, the other reason was the massive amount of data suckage that was happening. 
I realize I could've changed the permissions, but it made me so angry that I just said fuck it and deleted it. 
[–]dsmithpl12 12 points  
Can you change the permission on Android without rooting?
[–]measuredingrey 30 points  
You can on Marshmallow.
[–]dsmithpl12 11 points  
:( ok, ty one day...
[–]hanyh2 6 points  
Wow I just checked that out and it is amazing!
[–]2-4601[🍰] 15 points  
You can download Tinfoil for Facebook, which is just the website with a UI so it can't access anything a normal website can't.
[–]Piggles_Hunter 19 points  
And yet people still look at me funny when they find out I don't have any standard social media accounts or apps. 
[–]sk_2013 13 points  
I'm the only person I know without a fb, twitter, etc. I get a lot of flak for it.
Except reddit. They probably know me better then I do.
[–]VOZ1 4 points  
At least on iPhone, there's no way to disable FB's access to your microphone. I can't recall if the app had a pop-up at some point asking for permission to access the mic, because if it did, I know I would have denied it access...looks like I'll be deleting the FB app.
[–]coochiecrumb 8 points  
Can any other android users not delete the app? I just tried it and my phone is telling me I cannot remove that application. 
[–]summitorother 12 points  
If it came installed on your phone, you can't uninstall without root. You can disable it, go into settings > apps > facebook and the option should be near the top. You can ignore the warning it gives about other apps not working properly.
[–]coochiecrumb 4 points  
[–]rachitjainiPad Air 2 25 points  
I loved the way you articulated this !
[–]NewHoustonian[S] 18 points  
How very kind of you to say. Thank you!
[–]hitchhikeseverywhere 410 points  
[–]Ramon_J 192 points  
This reminds me of an event. So I have just met this girl at my University and after we met and all I later got on my Facebook and she was a suggested friend. What makes it scary is that we have no mutual friends, she's from Oregon and we're in North Carolina. This kind of scares me how creepy Facebook is. 
[–]FirstTimeMauler 245 points  
She could have tried to view your facebook page. That is a way to trigger a friend suggestion.
[–]avrenak 59 points  
She could have tried to view your facebook page. That is a way to trigger a friend suggestion.
O_o Fuck.
[–]Oooch 83 points  
I know this because my boss appeared in my recommended friends before I'd even searched or became friends with any coworkers
[–]jaybestnz 24 points  
I think there is a phone to phone "meeting in real life proximity thing" I emailed on gmail meetings and often after meeting at the cafe, then it triggers.
[–]dbenc 34 points  
They track your location and can make that suggestion by correlation. 
[–]maddiethebaddie 24 points  
[–]78666CDC 15 points  
It has access to your contacts and will suggest friends whose phone number you have, if they also have the mobile app. 
[–]wallyflops 77 points  
HAHAHAH I am a programmer and work in media for what it's worth but I know exactly how this happened. It's recommeneding you to add her as a friend, because she has been stalking your profile but didn't add you as a friend. e.g. it see's she's looking at your profile but not adding, so says to you "Hey, do you know this girl? Add her"... 
[–]Ramon_J 21 points  
I guess it'd have to be her creeping on me. I'd remember creeping on her Edit: y'all knew exactly what I meant! 
[–]Nick_Full_Time 7 points  
Creeping in her?
[–]GayBrogrammer 25 points  
So hot guys were just randomly checking out my profile?
And I deleted it‽
[–]mnementh666 10 points  
Wow. Two interrobangs in the wild in a month!
I really need to find a way to do that character on my phone. 
[–]jeremy_280 5 points  
Not exactly, I got my hair cut by a random barber the in the same business park a few months ago, after the cut I just paid for the haircut and left. Then later that day he's a suggested friend with the same circumstances as the comment above.
[–]blackpony04 8 points  
I'm guessing maybe location tracking picked up his business name but he doesn't have a business FB account so it just suggested him instead. If you ask me that's highly intrusive but that's the deal we make with the devil when we elect to carry a portable tracking device unfortunately.
[–]Fatally_Flawed 21 points  
Something similar happened to me recently. I was walking through Boots (big uk chain store) and saw a girl I used to live with. We just walked past each other, didn't stop to say hi or anything. An hour later, Facebook was suggesting her as a friend. We have no friends in common. Perhaps she stalked my profile when she saw me and that's what triggered it (although it doesn't seem likely) still, freaked me out a bit. 
[–]sh0bo 9 points  
I've had the same similar experiences, though at work. I don't befriend my coworkers on Facebook. And even though I don't have any friends in common, Fb seem to know whom I'm sitting next to at work, because FB's been suggesting friends that sit in the same office with very high precision.. So it does definitely know who I'm meeting in rl.. And I too have had similar strange experiences where ad's has shown, that has only been subject in real life, without me even being near doing an internet searches for.
[–]3Frog 16 points  
Location tracking maybe? 
[–]Ramon_J 16 points  
I turn off all my location services!
[–]Andrew288iPhone 6 Plus, iOS 8.4 7 points  
They can also get your location from your IP address, so if you and the girl are on the uni wifi for example they know you're both there.
[–]-_God_- 13 points  
So why didn't everyone else on the wifi get suggested then...?
[–]Ramon_J 7 points  
Exactly. I really want to know how they managed to pull it off. Makes me wonder how much the NSA really can figure out about a person. 
[–]jcrabb13 6 points  
trust me. they already know it all. A family member went in for an interview and they knew about an accident that happened when he was young, that he paid for in cash and neither party filed anything. 
[–]usrnm99 142 points  
I'm just back from a holiday in Turkey where I contracted a case of the shits. Not something I talk about on social media or anything that I typed (didn't search on web or anything) - but I did vocally complain to the girlfriend a few times about the fact I had the shits.
I thought it was very strange when within a few days I started getting these ads....
[–]NewHoustonian[S] 81 points  
Wtf. That's the creepiest one yet. So specific. 
[–]slapdashbr 24 points  
they knew you went on vacation out of the country. probably 30% chance you got sick there lol. 
[–]Blackspark 15 points  
This is confirmation bias, how many other things happen on vacation? What is the broadest ad you could use for someone on holidays? You reckon its that ad? 
[–]erikmcginnis 117 points  
I'm sure this comment is too buried to get attention but..... My wife and I had a conversation about getting life insurance for our baby (the Gerber grow up plan or whatever) and next day all the adds on her Facebook app were nothing but baby insurance. So we thought it was maybe a coincidence so to test it I had her leave the app just open. Not like she was going to post a status or anything and I just mentioned going to Lake Tahoe and renting a houseboat. Next day, HOUSEBOAT RENTALS!!! I immediately deleted my Facebook account completely. Fuck those fucking fuckers. That's some shady shit..... I'm sure other apps do the same thing but that was the last straw with Facebook for me.
[–]NewHoustonian[S] 38 points  
Not too buried for OP!
[–]notgregoden 5 points  
Don't do the life insurance for a baby thing, it's not a good investment.
[–]sinfool 54 points  
I remember a govt official (maybe congressman) talking about this sort of thing with the new smart tv. Here's a similar article but not related:
[–]Lugnut1206 47 points  
Bruce Schneier is one of the top cryptography experts today, as well as a privacy advocate, not a congressman or government official.
[–]NewsonLADiPhone 6s, iOS 9.0.2 120 points  
Could it be why the volume lowers when using an FB app? It sounds ridiculous but the FB app does lower your system volume when using it! 
[–]Herbalist33 79 points  
You're correct here- I only noticed in since I started using my phone to play music through my car stereo. The volume will drop permenantly, and I've found exiting fb from the app switcher makes the volume return to normal.
[–]XFX_Samsung 34 points  
It's to hear your real life talk better without sounds from phone suffocating it. Facebook is fucking creepy and that's why I refuse to use it.
[–]NewsonLADiPhone 6s, iOS 9.0.2 35 points  
Which is entirely a stupid thing. And FB have not fixed this in so many versions of the app it's beyond a joke
[–]Sendmeloveletters 86 points  
It's so they can hear you better 
[–]Sokkumboppaz 27 points  
My, Facebook, what low volume you have!
All the better to hear you with, my dear. 
[–]paradoxallyiPhone 6 Plus, iOS 9.0.2 38 points  
Maybe because it's intentional and not a bug....with Facebook, you never know. 
[–]noodlesfordaddy 10 points  
That's what's doing it! So weird!
[–]matthewgoodnight 5 points  
Yes! I just discovered this morning as I was listening to a podcast I decided to start closing apps, when I closed the Facebook app the volume on my podcast immediately went up. 
[–]I_am_on_amphetamines 51 points  
My boyfriend once mentioned the name of someone he knew, I asked the surname of the guy (his first name was the same as an acquaintance of mine) the day after the guy he mentioned was in my friend suggestion list, with literally no mutual friends in common. It really freaked me out... People always think I'm crazy when I tell them.
[–]Apicalmeristem 9 points  
This happened to me too! No mutual friends, I don't have his contact info in my phone either but he showed up in my suggeested friends list. He rarely uses facebook and only has ~50 friends too.
[–]Presto678 44 points  
One time my girl friends and I were all in the car coming back from doing hair and makeup for a wedding. We were all chatting about the wedding, the honeymoon (they were going to Disney World) and then my friends dating life. She joked she wished she was a lesbian because of her recent dating frustrations with guys (all of us are straight). I didn't search for ANY of this, my phone was in her cupholder the whole time. The next time I opened Facebook I got an ad for lesbian weddings in Orlando. It freaked me out so much I stopped using Facebook for a while. I promise you, there has never been a circumstance where I've searched for anything lesbian related (not that I'm ashamed whatsoever, I'm just stating facts). I wasn't searching for anything in Orlando, everything about it was just downright creepy. 
[–]mojoe2013 302 points  
If you have bugs, that means your neighbors probably do too. Which means your neighbors could have searched, therefor notifying Facebook that people in that area have that interest. From there you were on Facebook, in that designated area so they thought you might be interested. Turns out they were correct in that you may need that pest control service. 
Source: I do a lot of digital advertising, including Facebook advertising. 
[–]my_trisomy[🍰] 18 points  
Nice try Mark.
[–]nicodomeus 40 points  
This makes much much more sense. 
[–]themodestninja 7 points  
I mean this is all well and good, but is only specific to OP's story. The other stories in this thread cannot be explained using this theory.
[–]Blackspark 19 points  
No, I think the facebook app picking up keywords from the microphone makes more sense.