Sarcasm Central

Shhh…Facebook is Listening

Recently I was listening to a radio morning show and they mentioned that there’s an article online that talks about how Facebook is listening in on all our private conversations. Read it >>here<<. The idea is that when you download the Facebook app on your phone, you’re allowing them access to your phone’s microphone. This means they can switch that microphone on, essentially whenever they want. Facebook claims they do this only to offer you better content and targeted advertisements. But…is this really the case? My response…OMG! EEEKK!!!!!!!  FACEBOOK = Big Brother!!

Check out this gnarly symptom Google. Grossed out yet?I was freaking right the F out about this news!

Not only is FB spying on me through my own actions on their site, i.e. my likes, my comments etc, they’re also LISTENING to my PRIVATE conversations WHENEVER THEY WANT!! OMG!! I’m sorry, but I like to think that what I say at home, stays at home and that real privacy still exists when we’re out of the public eye. It’s bad enough that we forget that all social media sites are actually businesses trying to make money, it’s really scary when they’re doing things we’re unaware of and we’re naively going along with it.

Apparently the idea that privacy exists is dead wrong. Think about all the times that your phone is right by your side. Conversations at work? Check! Conversations at home? Check! Dinner out with friends? YUP! Doctor’s appointment? Check mate! Is your phone sitting by your bed at night while you…umm hmmmm with your significant other? Oh yeah Facebook is listening!!!! AND GETTING THEIR KICKS!! And if you’re one of those people who takes your phone into the bathroom with you…ummmm…yeah..Facebook knows your regularity!! AHHH!!!

After I heard this news I didn’t immediately remove Facebook from my phone, but I was wary. I asked myself: Should I remove the app? Is Instagram also listening to me? What about Twitter? WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPEING HERE? Is there secret espionage happening RIGHT NOW?

The clinching moment came soon thereafter.

A work colleague and I were discussing the issue one day at work and then a few days later I asked her if she had submitted her receipts from Zenni Optical to her FSA for reimbursement. She said no, but she should do so. A few minutes later, she’s checking Facebook on her phone and WHAMMO…there’s an advertisement for Zenni Optical. WHAT?!! (Cue twilight zone music (NOT EDWARD AND BELLA GAWD!) We went through all the possibilities, had I been looking at Zenni on my computer, nope. Had she been looking at Zenni on her computer or on her phone, nope! exactly could Facebook know, unless they were listening to our conversation?

Was I suddenly becoming extremely paranoid? Could that have been some kind of cosmic coincidence?

So…I removed the golden pinnacle of social media sites from my phone. Bye, Bye Facebook, see ya later SUCKA. As soon as I removed it, I started getting emails from Facebook about how many cool and interesting things I was missing on Facebook. Apparently my friends were DOING THINGS (i.e. freaking living their lives) AND I WAS MISSING OUT, OMG PANIC!!!

I mean, I get that technologically Facebook must know that I removed their app from my phone, but psychologically it was a bit freaky to suddenly have these emails letting me know how much stuff I was supposedly “missing.” It was like Facebook really was spying on me!! THEY KNOW EVERYTHING I DO! They probably even know what I’m wearing like that creeper who calls on the phone and says they can see you. PSHYCOLOGICAL TERROR!! HORROR MOVIE!! FACEBOOK WITH A KNIFE OUTSIDE THE BABYSITTER’s DOOR!!

Here’s the thing…what if Facebook has a file on all of us?

Hush little baby, don't say a word. Facebook is listening to everything we say.What if they keep these snippets of conversation that they capture? What if we’re targeted or grouped by things we say in the privacy of our own homes? What if all this data can be used against us in some way? I dunno…the digital age has it’s scary aspects.

I read online recently that Millennials would rather give up privacy for safety. The idea being that they prefer safe spaces and limited speech to having hurt feelings. This can also apply to terrorists (not that they’re afraid of a few hurt feelings)…but rather, we’re willing to accept mass surveillance in order to be safer from the bad guys.

To many a millennial who grew up on social media, privacy isn’t that much of a factor. They’re already putting their lives online (says the girl who writes a personal blog…har-har) through Facebook posts, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and more. Whether or not they’ve actually thought about Facebook listening to their conversations is another thing. Have they? Do they ever say things they wouldn’t want Facebook to hear and record?

Personally, free speech and privacy are everything to me! Let’s just say this, I like to control the conversation, i.e. I like to control what is exposed (I’m not a flasher) and what is kept private about my life. I don’t like Facebook making that choice for me!! I am selectively willing to expose myself (get your mind outta that gutter!!) on my OWN terms. I’m your basic exposure control freak. I will freely tell you how nuts I am, but I don’t want you find out because Facebook was recording my temper tantrums.

And now the paranoia sets in!

Ever since I heard the news about Facebook working for the FBI I’ve been wary around my phone and when I say something personal, I think…could my phone be listening? Who is hearing this? Who has a tape on this?? I mean, I already know that google is spying on whatever I google, which is already a bit weird. Like when I type in physical symptoms and want to find out what disease I’m suffering from like a hypchondriac…it’s a bit uncomfortable to think that Google knows all my secrets! Oh got a weird bumb, where?! HA HA!! Experiencing what in the what what? Eww… but very interesting! We’ll keep that data! Google basically knows when I’m experiencing anything weird and probably has a record of it.

Which leads me to the fact that I think they’re already able to take what you’ve searched for on your phone and associate it with whatever computers you’re using, via location. So who’s to say we aren’t being tracked geologically geographically? Oh look, she’s at work right now, isn’t that nice. Oh look, now she’s at the grocery store. Cute! Oh look, she’s doing an archaeological dig..or is it? Isn’t it convenient that these tech things we need have also allowed us to be tracked and recorded?

I think we forget the adorable, if inconvenient, little fact that these businesses are profiting on our personal information.  We forget that they can sell everything we type into them or in this case SAY in the presence of our phone. It’s easy to think that like a library book or a book we purchase, getting data from the web is free and private…or somewhat so…but it’s really not.

And here’s the kicker…how is this knowledge that Facebook could be listening going to change our lives, i.e. our actions?

The other day I’m saying something to my co-worker (the same one from above) and she covered her phone and said…. “Shhh! Facebook is listening!!”

I wanna throw you into a vat of boiling water just to spite Facebook. Photo of phone.OMG!? So now we’re limiting our speech because we fear that Facebook could be recording what we say? It makes me want to throw my phone into a vat of boiling water. We need freaking ear muffs for Facebook now. It’s like Facebook is an impressionable child who ‘might’ be listening, so we must WATCH what we say.  What the hell is this world coming to?!  What kind of dystopian future are we living in where our own devices are listening to us!!!!??

Am I a paranoid urban legend believing crazy person or am I right??

I know, I know, who gives a shit about what I’m doing anyway? No one. Unless they discover my secret life…in which case, they’ll be hell to pay.



About Victoria Sawyer (283 Articles)
Victoria Sawyer is a blogger, author, graphic designer, social media enthusiast and mental health advocate. Shocking, honest, sarcastic and humorous, Victoria aims to make readers feel tangible emotions and physical sensations through writing that brings you into the mind and body of someone suffering from panic attacks, anxiety and this strange often darkly hilarious thing we call life. She published her novel Angst in 2013, which realistically and often graphically depicts life with mental illness. Along with crazy blogging, Victoria enjoys reading historical novels, playing with her naughty cats, engaging in rants and metaphysical existential meltdowns and using punctuation to excess in everything she writes.

9 Comments on Shhh…Facebook is Listening

  1. I have no doubt they are listening because I’ve experienced the same stuff. When I was going through a rough time with my ex and trying to figure out whether or not to break up with him, I would have personal conversations with friends and family and then all of a sudden an article on Facebook was sponsored titled, “How to Know You’re in a Toxic Relationship”. It really freaked me out. Same thing happened when I was thinking about moving from California back to New Hampshire. I wanted to do a cross country road trip, but I’m fairly certain before I did any of my research, I got sponsored articles again titled, “9 Reasons to a Cross Country Road Trip in the Winter”. Specific much? I got rid of my Facebook account.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Homer, there's a family of possums in here! // September 2, 2016 at 1:47 pm // Reply

    Thanks for this article, Victoria, and I finally deactivated my FB account on my home computer. I’d set it up a couple of years ago but never used it, anyway. I think you’re rational, not paranoid, on corporate and government surveillance. And I’d say you’re spot on the two are in cahoots. The interconnections keep getting exposed by news media. Still, all of Big Tech is grabbing as much personal info as it can, and there might be no way to get all of these prying skeeters off of you. Just two weeks ago, I was typing a cat tale to a friend on Yahoo Mail, and wouldn’t you know, an ad for a cat product comes right up on the ad section of the screen! For socializing, I belong to groups that meet IN PERSON… what a strange idea, eh? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Meeting in person is just preposterous! haha 😉 Just make sure your friends don’t have Facebook or it’s still likely listening. However, you’ll probably remain anonymous, so that’s cool.


  3. Every time I think I might want to recreate a Facebook account I stumble across something (like this) that dissuades me!!! Incredible. I think I’m not supposed to join Facebook because of all these negative coincidences.

    Thanks for sharing! You’ve inspired me not to join … Again!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel pains in my chest from anxiety reading this.
    Myself, friends and family have experienced this. I’m tempted to deleted the app, I wonder if I can just deactivate the microphone? I don’t like the idea of me talking to my therapist about personal issues and Facebook keeping that. Scary stuff.


    • I agree, it’s terrifying to think of all the personal conversations I’ve had around my phone! I actually mainly use Facebook on my phone just through a browser rather than the app. I’m not sure if this helps or not, but might be worth a try!

      Liked by 1 person

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