In addition to wanting its users to post anything and everything about their lives on the site and tracking what they "like" and click, Facebook is reportedly testing technology that would be able to track a user's cursor.
Facebook is testing technology that tracks a cursor's movement on the site. (Image source: Thinglass / Shutterstock.com)
Facebook's Ken Rudin told the Wall Street Journal that new behavioral tracking on the site could include the ability to see "did your cursor hover over that ad … and was the newsfeed in a viewable area"? Such data could be used to produce better products and launch more targeted advertising, the site's analytic's chief said.
In terms of analytics data, Facebook has about 300 petabytes worth -- and that's not including user data it has amassed, according to the WSJ.
If Facebook chose to use cursor-tracking technology, it wouldn't be the first to do so. The stock photo website Shutterstock not only tracks where a user's cursor moves but how long they might hover over images. All this data is analyzed to make the user experience better, according to Shutterstock officials.
“Today, we are looking at every move a user makes, in order to optimize the Shutterstock experience….All these new technologies can process that,” Shutterstock founder and CEO Jon Oringer told the Wall Street Journal in an interview earlier this year.
" It turns out there’s a high correlation between what we look at on webpages, especially search results, and where we place our mouse cursor. Even more intriguing: tracking cursor position provides information about the relevance of search results that is richer than simple click data," Christopher Mims for Technology Review wrote of Microsoft's innovation.
With Facebook considering such tracking tech, The Verge's Ellis Hamburger speculated it's only a matter of time before "every flinch is tracked on the site" -- or even "our eyeballs."