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Facebook wants you to know that it’s not listening to you through your cell phone’s microphone. In a Thursday post on its website, the social media network countered recent claims that its mobile app has been listening to users through their phone microphones to help target advertising.

“Facebook does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed,” the company said. “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.”

One such article that suggested an all-hearing Facebook included claims that people found advertisements on Facebook for things they had only mentioned aloud. But Facebook’s statement said it would only use the microphone on someone’s cell if the app had permission to do so and if the user was engaging in a microphone-specific activity.

Two years ago, Facebook had to make similar clarification when it introduced a feature that would hear people’s music or television while they wrote a status, to include what they were listening to at the time of posting.

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Write to Julia Zorthian at

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