Is Facebook actually secretly listening to you?

‘I know this is happening. No one can tell me otherwise. I’ve experienced it and so have friends.”

Jeremy Dixon of Dublin is convinced. Our phones are being secretly used as tools by Facebook and Instagram to record our physical conversations, which are then mined for ads which we see when we open our social apps.

“It happened to me in a pub with mates,” the 98FM DJ told me. “We were chatting and an odd topic came up, alpacas. I’d never Googled it or looked it up. The next thing, I start seeing ads for alpaca farms in my feed.”

Jeremy is not alone. The theory that Facebook, Google, Amazon and other big online tech companies are secretly listening to our conversations through the microphones on our handsets is rife.

As a technology reporter, it’s the most consistent question I’ve received over the last three years.

“Is my phone spying on me?”