Zuckerberg insists that Facebook is not using your phone's mic to listen in to your conversations.
- During Mark Zuckerberg's testimony for a Senate committee on Tuesday, the Facebook CEO denied—again—that the app eavesdrops on user conversations via the smartphone's microphone.
- Senator Gary Peters asked Zuckerberg to put this conspiracy theory to rest, saying he has heard from members of his own staff that believe Facebook is "mining audio" to gather personal information about users.
For years, Facebook users have publicly speculated the the app might be spying on them through their smartphone's microphone, using their conversations to target incredibly specific ads.
On Tuesday, in front of a joint session of the United States Congress, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg took the chance to flatly deny the rumors, as the social network has regularly done since at least 2014.
"I hear it all the time, including from my own staff," Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) asked Zuckerberg. "Yes or no. Does Facebook use audio obtained from mobile devices to enrich personal information about it's users?"
Zuckerberg responded with a flat "no," and called it a "conspiracy theory."
"What you’re talking about is a conspiracy theory which gets passed around that says we listen through the microphones and record audio to target ads," Zuckerberg said. "We don’t do that."
The only time Facebook records audio, says Zuckerberg, is when a user records a video. And that audio is not used for targeting ads, he says.
Otherwise, Senator Peters used his chance to grill Zuckerberg to voice a few other popular questions users have about how Facebook gathers and stores information, in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. For example, the senator asked "Can I believe what I am seeing [on Facebook]?" and "Who has access to this information about me?"
"Facebook is losing the trust of an awful lot of Americans as a result of this incident," said Senator Peters.
More on Zuckerberg's blockbuster hearing:
- Business Insider's live blog of the entire hearing
- Zuckerberg hinted that Facebook could offer a paid version one day
- Zuckerberg says AI won't be able to reliably detect hate speech for 'five to 10' years
- Zuckerberg says Mueller's office has interviewed Facebook employees in the Russia investigation
- Zuckerberg claims no knowledge of Palantir's involvement with the Facebook, Cambridge Analytica scandal
- Zuckerberg will not be under oath during his Senate hearing, but will still have a 'legal obligation to testify truthfully'