Are the Facebook eavesdropping rumors true? Are they secretly keeping your microphone activated for nefarious reasons?

Every so often, I will see people in my Facebook feed copying and pasting warnings telling Facebook that it is not authorized to use their information to do such and such. One variation of the rumor has been that Facebook is also using the microphone to to discover what you’re talking about, and therefore serve up even more annoying ads to us.

In Facebook’s own words about eavesdropping:

Facebook does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed. Some recent articles have suggested that we must be listening to people’s conversations in order to show them relevant ads. This is not true. We show ads based on people’s interests and other profile information – not what you’re talking out loud about.

We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio. This might include recording a video or using an optional feature we introduced two years ago to include music or other audio in your status updates.

Of course these assurances may not do anything to help some people feel more secure. After all, a lot of people prefer to hang on to their conspiracy theories. At a minimum, Facebook is taking the opportunity to put this one rumor to rest.