Facebook to Monitor Your Cursor Activity: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

The Facebook privacy plot thickens. A new report suggests the site may begin tracking the movements of your mouse cursor as you navigate the site.

In a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Facebook analytics leader Ken Rudin reveals that his company is considering several new measures designed to help improve the system it uses to track user activity.

That means monitoring how long users hover their mouse cursor over certain parts of the Facebook website.

Cursor Tracking Could Help Boost Ad Revenue

For Facebook management, the most valuable information will involve how long users hover their cursor over advertisements, and if they click on those ads on a frequent basis.

The social networking site will also consider how the positioning of advertisements affects users' decisions to click or not click. (Source: theverge.com)

Obviously, the problem with such monitoring is that it may be interpreted as a violation of user privacy. This is hardly the first example of Facebook pursuing a strategy or policy that threatens to alienate many of its one billion-plus users.

Recently, the firm made headlines when it announced it was killing a privacy protection measure that allowed users to block people from searching for their profiles. Facebook insisted such a system gave users a false sense of security.

Tracking Will Help Improve Layout, Functionality, Facebook Says

As for this issue, Facebook insists cursor monitoring could improve the social networking experience by helping it determine a better layout for user profiles and the News Feed.

It's worth noting that this kind of activity tracking is anything but new. Experts are reminding people that other sites, such as photo retailer Shutterstock, regularly track the length of time users hover cursors over an item.

However, Facebook has yet to pursue a behavioural data management system that includes cursor tracking. For now, it appears likely Facebook will carry out tests to see if this kind of user monitoring is worth the time and effort.

"Facebook should know within months whether it makes sense to incorporate the new data collection into the business," the Wall Street Journal reports. (Source: wsj.com)

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