Is Apple listening to people’s conversations?

Lily Deaton

Social Media Editor

Imagine a tiny microphone being placed in people’s homes that would constantly listen to every conversation; this might not be as crazy as it sounds.

Apple is one of the most valuable companies in the world. More than half of Americans now own an Apple product, an average of about 64 percent, according to CNBC’s All-America Economic Survey.

Apple holds information for its customers, including fingerprint and face ID. Apple even provides a digital assistant known as “Siri.”

Siri can provide shortcuts for texting, calling, and searching the internet.

Considering Apple is listening when the owner calls “Hey Siri,” could it be possible that they are listening out for more?

Many believe that Apple listens out for products the owner wants and provide advertisements about those products, but the only way to know for sure is putting the theory to the test.

“My dad and I went to Walmart once, and we were laughing about a certain way a product was designed. Then, when we got home, an ad popped up advertising that exact same product we were talking about,” said Jessica Oleynik, visual arts senior. “The strangest part is that I speak only in Russian to my parents. So, dad and I were taking about that object in a different language. So, I have no idea how the phone detected what we were saying.”

Apple has many different language settings (about 418); therefore, it is possible that it can detect anything said in any language.

There is a similar belief that Facebook also listens to users.

“My understanding is that a lot of these cases that you’re talking about are a coincidence,” Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook said, in regard to the allegations. Although Zuckerberg denied the theories, there is evidence that can disprove his claim.

Out of curiosity, one couple made a YouTube video testing out the theory. The couple, whose names were not revealed, opened their Facebook app and began to talk about cat food all day. The couple did not own a cat, nor specifically looked up cat food on their phones. About two days later, an ad for cat food appeared on Facebook. The video is on the couple’s YouTube channel, Neville.

Believing experiment would prove that Facebook really does listen, and it would mean that Mark Zuckerberg gave a false claim. Apple has also made a claim that they don’t listen to people’s conversations as well, but if Zuckerberg gave a false claim, it is likely Apple could have done the same.

The only way to know if Apple is listening is if the theory is put to the test.

Curious to know if iPhones are listening? Follow these directions and see if there are any results:

1) Pick an item that you don’t normally talk about. (Ex: men’s deodorant, hamster food, etc.)

2) DO NOT SEARCH FOR THIS PRODUCT OR TALK ABOUT IT THROUGH TEXT MESSAGE

3) Start mentioning your product throughout the day, for a couple of days, bring it up in conversations over the phone or in person, even mention it when you are alone with your phone (Do all of this while your phone is close to you).

4) Try opening social media apps and speak about the product with the apps open.

5) Scroll through social media/websites such as Instagram or Facebook every few hours and look for any advertisements of your product.

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