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Facebook wants to track where you’re hovering your cursor, right now, and for how long

By Travis Gettys
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 13:53 EDT
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The 'Facebook' logo is reflected in a young Indian woman's sunglasses as she browses on a tablet in Bangalore on May 15. dia has demanded social networking websites take down provocative messages and has blocked some online content after anonymous threats sparked an exodus of migrants from several cities
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Facebook wants to know even more about you.

The social networking giant is testing technology that would allow it to collect data on where users hover their cursors on the screen, and for how long, and see whether a user’s newsfeed is visible at any given moment on their mobile phone, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Facebook’s analytics chief, Ken Rudin, said Tuesday the captured information would be stored by the company for a nearly endless range of purposes, including product development.

The company said in a statement late Wednesday the data would not be shared outside Facebook or used to target ads.

Facebook already collects demographic and behavioral data about its users to determine what they do on- and offline.

The new data would allow Facebook to know how users interact with the social network site and its advertisers while they’re online.

Facebook uses the open-source distributed file service Hadoop to manage its 300-petabyte data analytics warehouse, which is separate from its user data collection.

The digital image service Shutterstock, already uses the open-source Hadoop distributed file service to analyze user data, including cursor placement, to see how long visitors hover over images before making a purchase.

Rudin said the company would know in a few months whether it would incorporate its new data collection into its data analytics warehouse – which has already grown 4,000 times over the past four years.

Facebook hasn’t disclosed the volume of its user data, which includes information on where its users live and went to school, as well as who their friends are and what things they “like” on the site.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

Update: Added information from a statement issued Wednesday evening by Facebook.

 
 
 
 
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