Facebook wants to track cursor movements

Social notworking site Facebook seems to think that it has not been hitting the headlines enough for invading consumers privacy.

With all this Snowden and Prism stuff, Facebook’s invasions of privacy appear to have been forgotten by everyone, other than the relevant department of the European Union.

According to the Wall Street Journal, to remedy the problem, Facebook is testing software which will monitor its users’ cursor movements.

Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin said Facebook may start collecting data on minute user interactions with its content. This will mean that it will gather information about long a user’s cursor hovers over a certain part of its website, or whether a user’s newsfeed is visible at a given moment on the screen of his or her mobile phone,.

Captured information would be stored in a data analytics warehouse that will make sure that you get targeted adverts based on what you hover your cursor over the most.

Tests are going on and part of a broader technology testing programme, but Facebook should know within months whether it makes sense to incorporate the new data collection into the business.

New types of data Facebook may collect include “did your cursor hover over that ad … and was the newsfeed in a viewable area,” Rudin said.

Rudin comes from the online game outfit Zynga and his job is to make sure that Facebook uses all the data it can get its paws on.

Shutterstock records literally everything that its users do on the site and uses the open-source Hadoop distributed file system to analyse data such as where visitors to the site place their cursors and how long they hover over an image before they make a purchase.

Facebook is also a big fan of Hadoop and uses a modified version to manage its data.

What will be interesting is if Facebook manages to get away with its cunning plan, particular in the EU where some governments are particularly sensitive about the matter of data storage and personal privacy.