Have you ever been flipping through Instagram . . . and an advertisement pops up for something you’re interested in, but you KNOW you’ve never Googled it, visited its website, or clicked on another ad for it?

Well, GAYLE KING has . . . and on “CBS This Morning” today she grilled Instagram boss Adam Mosseri to figure out how it happens.

Naturally, he didn’t have a satisfying response.  He insisted that the app is NOT spying on you, and basically chalked it up to a COINCIDENCE.

Mosseri said, quote, “There’s two ways that can happen:  One is dumb luck, which can happen.  The second is you might be talking about something because it’s top of mind, because you’ve been interacting with that type of content more recently.

“Maybe you’re really into food and restaurants . . . you saw a restaurant on Facebook or Instagram . . . you liked the thing . . . it’s top of mind . . . maybe that’s subconscious.  And then it bubbles up later.  I think this kind of happens often.

“But, we don’t look at your messages.  We don’t listen on your microphone.  Doing so would be super problematic for a LOT of different reasons.  But I recognize that you’re not going to really believe me.”

Instagram is owned by Facebook, and clearly Facebook has many data partners.  They’re not shy about it . . . a lot of their ads are stuff that you recently searched for on Amazon or other sites.

But it DOES seem like there are times when you see ads BEFORE searching.

Maybe they’re not outright listening in on your phone’s microphone, or combing through your messages . . . but there’s a HUGE amount of space between that and it being “dumb luck” or something you’d forgotten looking into online.

And whatever they’re doing, clearly these people aren’t going to admit to it . . . probably because they’re navigating around some very vague, untested social media privacy laws.