According the Wall Street Journal, Facebook intends to experiment with brand-new technology that will allow it to get to know even more about their users. If you thought it was bad enough that the company knows what sort of sites you visit outside of Facebook in order to provide you with targeted ads, now know that the social network wants to start monitoring what you like best inside of Facebook, based on how long your cursor hovers over a particular space. That’s right: cursor-tracing tech is likely on its way to Facebook.
“The social network may start collecting data on minute user interactions with its content, such as how long a user’s cursor hovers over a certain part of its website, or whether a user’s News Feed is visible at a given moment on the screen of his or her mobile phone,” Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin revealed to The Wall Street Journal.
The most popular social media site on the planet already has a near infinite amount of data on its users to begin with, but it always wants to know more. Still, the idea that Facebook wants to track your real life movements via the mouse definitely might be cause for a gut check on what users feel is too intrusive.
But before you feel too violated, there could be a positive side to this. Facebook likely wants to use this software not only to track ads you click on or other marketing-related activity, but to try and fix it’s News Feed. Maybe it will be able to find ties between the types of content you’re blocking, or figure out that you want to see photos in chronological order – and not constantly resurfaced because of new comments weeks later. There are plenty of complaints about its current algorithm, so perhaps this will really be the best way to try and amend the situation.
Of course, such an experiment could easily have holes. Just because I hover and click over someone’s photo of an adorable puppy doesn’t mean I’m interested in more photos from said person (who may or may not have the tendency to overdo her baby coverage). And just because I happen to leave my cursor hanging over an ad for a Japanese dating Sims game to go cook some lunch, doesn’t mean I’m into Anime. Or dating. Or Facebook games. I might have just gotten distracted and left the room entirely. There are plenty of “what ifs” here.
And there’s also the fact that you might not want anyone or anything – including Facebook, which hoards data like a bag lady keeps old newspapers – to have reconnaissance of what your mouse is clicking on inside the social network. There’s no privacy setting that can fix that.