Are our phones listening to us? Or am I just paranoid?

I was discussing with my husband at lunch the other day, how we needed a new duvet for our bed.

It's been so long since we purchased one, we briefly discussed where would be best to buy one and what type would be best. So far, sooooooo boring, I know. But not according to my phone.


It seems my phone was not only listening in, but it was also trying to do something about it. A few hours after our discussion (which to be frank only lasted a couple of minutes before we'd moved on), my Instagram feed started popping up with ads for bedding, blankets and - you guessed it - duvets.

Equally creepy is that my phone was not even in use while we'd been talking earlier, it'd been sitting in my pocket, and then after I'd taken a call from one of the kids, it sat on the table.

So how did it suddenly know to target me with bedding ads? I raised this on my Instagram and was bombarded with responses from people all sharing similar stories.

People who'd talked about a product and then boom - there it was advertised.
People who'd shared views on a movie even and then been spammed with similar movie reviews on the very same film.

People who'd mentioned a musical, then songs from that very musical started popping up on their Spotify playlist. Spooky.

So my experience is nothing new, but when Facebook was tackled on this very thing, they denied it. Well they would. Facebook called it a conspiracy theory and urban myth.

But it can poo-poo it all it wants, I know what I saw – multiple ads for bedding, popping up hours after I talked about bedding.

How do you explain how specific these ads were? And if you can't, then can we really dismiss it as urban myth?


Facebook says there are other ways our tech can track our thoughts: web searches, Google entries, regularly visited sites.

But I had not Google searched duvets or looked up bedding shops. I had not emailed anyone about bedding - I had not ever raised it, aside from verbally and briefly that day over lunch.

So what gives?

One Instagram user messaged me to delete the Facebook app from my phone, or log in and out regularly. She claimed it often happens to her too.

So am I paranoid? Or is my phone really more interested in my duvet chat than my husband is?

Are our tech devices really as innocent as they look? Or are they actually spying on us?