Are advertisers always listening through my phone?

The short answer is: it depends. Google has keywords (when you say things like “Hey, Google”) that trigger your microphone. (The same is true for Apple’s “Hey, Siri” and Microsoft’s “Hey, Alexa.”) When you say those words—whether you’re on your phone or not—you’re opting-in to Google recording and documenting what you say. Facebook and Google have both made claims that they’re not actively listening to your conversations. On the other hand, Google has tracking technology on almost 75% of all websites on the internet and Facebook does on almost 25%. Advertisers already know so much about you, based on your searches, shares, and engagements, that they can pin-point many things about your life—whether they’re recording your microphone or not.

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