So, my friend was watching a movie. His laptop was offline for the last 2 days. When I opened my YouTube, I got recommended a scene from the same movie. It is highly unlikely to be a probable incident. If his laptop was online, it would make sense for recommendations. But even if he has downloaded that movie months ago.

How is the algorithm able to predict this even if I don't watch scenes from movies?

  • If it only happened once then it could be just chance. Aug 30 at 22:27
  • It has happened many times, but we were online Aug 31 at 5:29
  • Companies like Google have so much data that they can predict very well that you'll be interested in things your friend is also interested in. This isn't necessarily "chance," but more likely a result of Google's prediction algorithms being really good. Aug 31 at 16:44

1 Answer 1


Check your microphone privileges on all social media, and apps like YouTube, and make sure that the mic permission is set to "Only while using the app". Most of those apps will cache small voice recordings and forward them to the apps and services. That's how it customizes its ads to you. It's also why people are paranoid about their devices "listening" to them.

When Facebook Messenger was first released, it asked for permissions to mic, cam, phone, contacts, and photos. A video immediately went viral and hit most national news outlets of a man ranting about Facebook stealing our data and spying on us. It can and probably does get used that way, but that was never the intent. It was literally the app asking your permission to do those things to make your life easier. So all of those functions could be used through just Messenger.

However, if you don't want extra data and input saved, change your permissions for the mic from "always", to "only while using..." Should clear that issue up.

  • Are you seriously suggesting facebook doesnt spy? They are the biggest spies and they sell your data too. All large companies have spy bots such Microsoft, Amazon etc Aug 31 at 2:42
  • I checked and there were 4 extra apps I never used, with Microphone permission. All belonged to Google Aug 31 at 5:32
  • Hi Daniel, do you have a source that supports the microphone on a phone being used to collect recordings for this intent? Aug 31 at 16:43
  • There's a lot of sources... You can Google it, but it has been on the news even. I can't recall exactly where I read about it, but I think it was on XDA in bout 2012.. I will look and see if it's still up and follow up here. Sep 2 at 1:13

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