Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has appeared before congress in the US to answer questions about the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal and data security at the social network.
Sitting atop a booster seat (which the internet spotted in moments) Zuckerberg was thrown a number of questions.
The most interesting question touched on an urban legend/conspiracy theory which alleges that the reason Facebook’s advertising was able to target users so well is that Facebook was secretly recording the conversations of users.
The theory is that if you mention a product during a face-to-face conversation advertising for said product will appear on your Facebook feed.
Honestly speaking we’ve always believed that this was just Facebook’s algorithm flexing its power and knowledge of you rather than Facebook recording conversations, but that doesn’t make us much fun at parties.
Hoping to get to the bottom of this theory Senator Gary Peters asked Zuckerberg, “Yes or no, does Facebook use audio obtained from mobile devices to enrich personal information about users?”
To which Zuckerberg responded “no” before launching into a more detailed. explanation.
“To be clear, we do allow people to take videos on their devices and share those, and videos have audio, so we do while you’re taking a video, record that and use that to make the service is better by making sure your videos have audio, but I think that is pretty clear. But I just wanted to make sure I was exhaustive there.”
So there you have it, official word from Facebook that it is not recording your conversations unless you are recording said conversation as a video.
Zuckerberg spent some time answering questions before Congress yesterday but as The Verge points out, many of the questions could be answered with a quick Google search.
If you’ve got five hours to spare and want to know everything Zuckerberg was asked you can check out the full hearing embedded below this story.
Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear before congress again today.[Image – CC BY SA 2.0 Alessio Jacona]