Mark Zuckerberg has described rumours that Facebook is secretly recording audio through users’ phones as a ‘conspiracy theory’. The billionaire was speaking at a Congress hearing today, where he was grilled by a panel about topics ranging from Russian election meddling to technology addiction. Senator Gary Peters wanted to know if Facebook records audio through the smartphone microphones or when users are making calls, telling Zuckerberg that his friends were often spooked to see adverts for products they had been talking about on the phone. But the Facebook founder was unequivocal in his answer to this question.
‘Senator, let me be clear on this,’ he said. ‘What you’re talking about is a conspiracy theory which gets passed around that says we listen through the microphones and record audio to target ads. ‘We don’t do that.’ Just to be ‘exhaustive’, Zuckerberg said Facebook recorded audio when shooting a video – which makes total sense – but did not capture sound or carry out clandestine surveillance. The billionaire is testifying as part of an inquiry into privacy and data protection, but the questioning touched on everything from tech addiction to political bias and Russian election meddling.