The 268 Podcast: is Facebook really listening in on me?

It's a disconcerting feeling - receiving targeted Facebook advertising that aligns frighteningly closely with a topic you've just been talking about.

Cannings Purple 12 Feb 2020
2 mins
Podcast - is Facebook listening to me?

It’s a disconcerting feeling known to many Facebook users: you’re having a presumably private conversation with a friend and next thing you know a similarly-themed advertisement or sponsored post finds its way into your feed.

The theory that Facebook is somehow listening to you through a mobile phone or computer microphone has been bouncing around for several years. It’s been fodder for conversations around office water coolers, on other social media platforms and even in US Congress. In recent weeks the “Big Blue Giant” has made available an Off-Facebook Activity Tracker that enables users to see exactly how much it knows about what they are doing each day.

But is there any validity to the theory that Facebook is actually listening to us?

In the first episode of The 268 Podcast, Cannings Purple’s Head of Digital Glenn Langridge joins host Morgan Ballantyne and Account Manager Ray Jordan to discuss one of the modern media landscape’s enduring suspicions and ponder whether Facebook’s 2 billion-plus users have anything to worry about.

“I think this is probably one of the questions I get asked the most – ‘is Facebook listening to me?’” Glenn says.

“And I think people get quite scared about it.”

You can listen to and subscribe to The 268 Podcast on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Castbox and Spotify.

Listing for this episode:

0.53 – Not music to everyone’s ears
1.27 – “It just sounds so sinister”
1.43 – Where’s the proof?
2.15 – Have you thought about the algorithms?
2.38 – it’s what you do, not necessarily what you say
3.58 – I think Facebook is terrific, but…
4.31 – What Facebook knows about you
5.25 – How do you legislate for this?
5.48 – Discussions around the lunch table
6.08 – “It happens to me all the time…and I love it.”
7.00 – “You’re not reassuring me.”
7.28  – Anecdote v anecdote
8.00 – How would they listen in?
9.35 – “They’ve got too much to lose.”
10.05 – How could I stop Facebook listening to me?
11.30 – It depends what side of the fence you’re on
11.52 – Where is this going to go?
12.58 – A final word

Cannings Purple is a specialist communications consultancy with market-leading expertise in investor relationsgovernment relationsstakeholder engagementdesign and digitalcorporate affairscrisis communicationsmedia trainingmedia intelligencevideo production and bespoke content creation.

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The 268 Podcast is recorded at Magic Studios in Perth.