Instagram and Facebook have been accused on more than one occasion of abusing their access to users phones. Granted while Facebook hasn’t been an angel in that regard, one particular conspiracy theory keeps coming up. In particular, the idea that Facebook and associated apps record your conversations in order to serve you ads.
In an interview this week, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri explicitly denied this on an interview on CBS this morning. She gave the example of restaurant ads bubbling up in your Instagram profile after you’ve been talking about eating.
“So maybe you’re really into food and restaurants. You saw a restaurant on Facebook or Instagram and you really like the thing,” Mosseri said. “It’s top of mind, maybe it’s subconscious and then it bubbles up later. I think this kind of thing happens often in a way that’s really subtle.”
In other words, Instagram doesn’t need to hear you speaking to know what you want. The way you act informs the algorithm of what content you’d be receptive to, whether you know it consciously or not.
Of course, it seems that no matter how many times this is refuted in manners one could deem definitive it always keeps popping back up.