In June of 2016, as Instagram celebrated reaching 500 million monthly users, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, posted a photo of himself enjoying the moment. The photo quickly went viral, not because people like Zuckerberg, but because it showed the owner of a company—that requests permission to record through your camera and microphone—with tape over both his camera and microphone. Now, we know why.
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christoper Wylie, appearing before a committee of British MPs on Tuesday, delivered a bombshell testimony noting that Facebook has the ability to spy on all of its users in their homes and offices.
Wylie is testifying before the British parliament as it investigates the role of the now infamous Cambridge Analytica firm in the Brexit election. The chairman of the committee, MP Damian Collins came right out and asked Wylie if Facebook has the ability to listen to what people are talking about in order to better target them with ads.
"There's been various speculation about the fact that Facebook can, through the Facebook app on your smartphone, listen in to what people are talking about and discussing and using that to prioritize the advertising as well," Collins said. "Other people would say, no, they don't think it's possible. It's just that the Facebook system is just so good at predicting what you're interested in that it can guess."