30 October, 2013
Today, Facebook announced that it is testing a new technology that makes it possible to collect even more data about its users. It concerns data on the way users interact with the social network, for example how long a user’s mouse cursor hovers over a certain part of the website, whether a user’s newsfeed was in a visible area on the screen when he hovers over an advertisement or whether the newsfeed is visible at a given moment on the screen of a mobile device. The information may be added to the existing data analytics warehouse and could be used for different purposes, from product development to more precise targeting of advertising.
Facebook expects to know within a few months whether the testing program with this new types of data is successful and whether it’s useful to incorporate the new data collection into the business. It is yet unknown whether users will have the option not to share these types of data with Facebook.
There will probably be a storm of criticism, as is often the case when Facebook announces a chance in its policies. However, Facebook is not the first company that wants to collect this kind of data. Shutterstock Inc., a marketplace for digital images, has been working this way for some time and tracks virtually every activity of its users on the website. For example, Shutterstock analyzes where visitors to the website place their cursors and how long they hover over an image before they make a purchase. According to Shutterstock, this data is used to optimize the user experience.
Source: Wall Street Journal.