Facebook will be tracking your mouse movement
Facebook is now openly testing its ability to track where users click and hover, recording all cursor movements while browsing the site. Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that there is value in knowing where users’ cursors go, and in which parts of the screen they hover at any given moment.
Some of what the social media giant will be studying, according to Rudin is “did your cursor hover over that ad… and was the newsfeed in a viewable area.”
Why track your every move?
The obvious reason for tracking your every move, even when you don’t click something on the site, is to better understand the effectiveness of features, but more importantly, of ads. Facebook can offer more metrics for advertisers, noting that a user hovered over their ad for a specific number of seconds, perhaps giving them something new to charge for, calling it branding.
Additionally, this would give the company more meaningful insight into what is being hidden from your feed by your own doing, and what is being interacted with.
The company is not being completely open with their intentions, rather that they are, in fact, testing cursor tracking, to see what data it yields, a move many likely already believed was in place. Rudin acknowledges that not all data is useful (aka not all can be used to sell more ads), adding that “Instead of a warehouse of data, you can end up with a junkyard of data.”
Not without concern: Facebook’s shady history
While tracking of this sort is nothing new, it is of concern to us based on Facebook’s shady past, using cookies to track users on other sites across the web based on Facebook plugins installed on those pages (which is nearly every page as of 2013). Some wonder if Facebook will restrict their cursor tracking to Facebook.com, or if they will again overstep their bounds until someone notices otherwise.