During the May book, WFLA in Tampa breathlessly reported that Facebook is using our microphones to evesdrop on everything we say.
It was your classic sweeps story, used to scare viewers and drum up ratings. The claim was that Facebook listened to what you said and then catered the ads on their website to match what you were talking about.
The story was picked up by other news outlets as well. Facebook issued a statement, saying that the story was not true.
The expert used in the WFLA story says that the report has hurt her reputation. "I feel the news stories that state I made this claim have hurt my reputation to some extent. No researcher would make this declaration based on one demonstration. Such a conclusion could only be drawn after an empirical research study involving many more observations," writes Kelly Burns PHD.
Burns got sucked into a sweeps story that didn't really care if it was happening or not, if the station could get someone to say, "it was possible," that's all they needed.
Burns needs to learn that in sweeps, facts aren't nearly as important as eyeballs.
And you don't need a researcher to tell you that.
Here's the story in question: