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Poll results: You overwhelmingly think your phone is listening to you for ads
I’m sure many readers have found themselves talking about a topic, only for the topic to surface as an ad in their web browser or on social media. It’s hard not to think that your phone is listening to you in these cases.
That got us wondering how many people thought their phones were listening to them for ad-related reasons. We posed this question last week, and it’s time to check out the results.
Do you think your phone is listening to you for ad purposes?
We got 1,500 votes in this poll, and it turns out that the vast majority of polled readers (75.2%) think their phone is listening to them for ad-related reasons. This is reflected in our comments section too, as some readers gave examples of talking about something (without searching for it) and then seeing ads related to the subject.
Meanwhile, 16.3% of surveyed readers felt that their phones weren’t listening to them for ad-related purposes. Finally, just 8.5% of respondents said they weren’t sure.
Either way, it’s clear that the vast majority of polled readers aren’t convinced that this is a mere coincidence.
- coal686: I used to not think so, but I 100% think it does. One time my wife was discussing a specific kind of snack she used to eat as a kid and she had Facebook ads related to it. Another time, I was mentioning to friends how we sometimes take a FL trip and we started getting ads for the town we go to. None of those times involved searches or anything, just talking out loud. And those are just two stories. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve told my wife, “Creepy Google’s been listening again…”
- Kit Baty: Last week I was in Orlando for a volleyball tournament. One of the other dads had his phone drop out of his pocket while on a rollercoaster. He told me all about it, and the cracked screen and he didn’t have insurance, etc. 10 minutes later, T-Mobile texted me about “Accidents Happen…” and how “cracked screens are an unfortunate reality…” and then pitched me on their monthly protection plan. I am convinced that was no accident.
- Farhan Tajuddin: I always know that ad companies always rely on surveillance to generate revenue. After all, the saying “if it’s free, you’re the product” is always apt. That’s why I always try not to give permission all the time and also turn off all data collection on my Google account.
- eszklar: Not particularly. I run GrapheneOS myself. Better granular permission control over apps/services.
- Peter A: It definitely captures multiple languages. A few years ago my wife and were on vacation in Virginia and talked about the mattress at the hotel in Polish. For the next month we both got ads on our phones for mattresses – she in Polish, I in English.
- Wibbly: If the mic and attendant processing was always active, wouldn’t have a terrible impact on battery life?