I work in Ad tech. No one is capturing anyone's voices to serve them ads via their mobile devices. People are often segmented by location and proximity to interests, however. If someone nearby (a neighbor, perhaps) searched for pest control? Guess what, you're now in a likely segment of people looking for pest control. Boss searched for a canon printer at work? You're in that segment, too, until your interest score drops and you're removed from that audience segment. This is pretty universal - you can even see what Google's got you pegged for being interested in by going here: https://www.google.com/settings/ads
TL;DR: There are like-minded people in very close proximity to you, searching for the same things that you search for/mention/use/lust after, and you're getting lumped in with them.
As much as I would love another reason to hate Facebook, I don't really think they actually capture the app user's voices.
>Myth: The feature listens to and stores your conversations.
>Fact: Nope, no matter how interesting your conversation, this feature does not store sound or recordings. Facebook isn’t listening to or storing your conversations.
>Here’s how it works: if you choose to turn the feature on, when you write a status update, the app converts any sound into an audio fingerprint on your phone. This fingerprint is sent to our servers to try and match it against our database of audio and TV fingerprints. By design, we do not store fingerprints from your device for any amount of time. And in any event, the fingerprints can’t be reversed into the original audio because they don’t contain enough information.
>Myth: Facebook is always listening using your microphone.
>Fact: Nope, if you choose to turn this feature on, it will only use your microphone (for 15 seconds) when you’re actually writing a status update to try and match music and TV.
http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/05/a-new-optional-way-to-sh... (via http://www.computerworld.com/article/2490090/social-media/ba...)
Myth 2: they don't address what happens when you don't turn on the feature.
Edit to add: Overall they might not "listen to the mic" but they might be detecting words based audio data. It's all of matter of how you define things. Maybe to them, listening to the mic means playing an audio feed of the mic to a human being at Facebook, or software analyzing the full audio stream instead of a transformed/condensed view of the audio.
But that's also really easy phrasing to write a loophole for :P
Or if your friend is renovating his house and does a search for new cabinets, you'll see cabinets show up in your ads. And you won't think anything about it until you talk to your friend about his renovations. Then you get home, and your FB is full of renovation ads.
Never attribute to malice or competence (voice fingerprinting for ad targeting )what can adequately be explained by a stupid algorithm ("my friends and I must like the same things" ad targeting).
The coincidence is certainly odd, but not entirely out of the realm of possibility, especially if this isn't the first time they've had cockroaches (ie. they might be in a demographic/audience segment likely to have these issues and be frequently targeted).
I would also add that FBX partners can leverage a massive amount of 3rd party data, such as search retargeting vendors that can serve ads as quickly as seconds after you've searched for something on one of the data sources they partner with (engines, toolbars, etc.).
All you need is some more or less benign targeted advertising by local exterminators (for example, "age 22+", "females and married couples", "single-family dwelling", and a zip code the exterminator knows have had lots of bug complaints) and somebody happening to glance at their phone after being spooked by bugs.
(You may be creeped out by Facebook knowing what type of dwelling you live in, but that's a separate issue.)
Remember that Apple is not a government and can and does show favoritism in how it relates to developers selling through their system.
Although the prospect of Google, Facebook or Apple doing always on Voice Recognition seems unlikely in terms of bandwidth and power requirements.
Possibility 1 :
Facebook is snooping on your conversations.
Their machine learning algorithms are getting creepily good at predicting your wants and needs.
Both are scary.
Dear Facebook overlords, when will I meet the girl I'll marry?
Seriously, has anyone tried this?
Facebook's ability to answer that question may be somewhat related to their ability to construct the outcome. They're integrated with the major dating apps, they choose which people are in and out of view, they know all about you both and have your communications and from when/where you communicate and what events you might attend together...
The question isn't "when will I meet the girl I'll marry", but: "please match me with the girl I'll marry".
I fired up Chrome on my already opened MBP, typed IMDB in the search bar and the first result was IMDB Gotham.
I'm not going to speculate, but the coincidence was indeed surprising.
This is the kind of stuff that convinces people of having a religious moment that "only" can be explained by their religious beliefs.
> Imagine scaling this idea. Imagine you know everything a person goes through. Everything. In the right context, you will be able to predict everything this person does. By studying his past, you can determine his thoughts all the time. Here is something that happened to me a few years ago.
> I've watched a Mexican show on YouTube for a few month. Let's call it a soap opera for now. A month later, I was chatting with a friend in Mexico and I've mentioned the show. She mentioned another Brazilian show she liked. This conversation was happening on whatsapp. The moment I jumped on Google, on my desktop machine, all I had to do was type 2 characters on the search bar and Google completed it with the name of the show she was talking about.
Facebook isn't even listed as an app that uses the microphone.
- Mark Zuckerberg
It's because this is a classic rage tangent, and those invariably reproduce the same result.
People exhume this quote at every opportunity as if it adds light to the topic at hand. But this is an optical illusion: it only appears to do so because it's the most cherry-picked detail ever. All it really adds to the discussion is a rage supplement, like one of those toxic fuel additives.
If you picked a bad thing I—or any of us—said, and brought it out at every apparently relevant moment, you could make me—or any of us—look just as bad. The only differences are that the horrible things I said at 19 have been forgotten (at least I hope they have) and I didn't turn into the CEO of Facebook or some other celebrity.
These single-purpose memes are a side-effect of how the Internet works (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9722096). They're reflexive, not reflective, so they don't belong in HN discussions.