Facebook contemplates tracking your mouse cursor

Social media goliath says it could help with product development and targeted advertising

Facebook is reported to be contemplating a technology that will allow it to track the cursor movements of its users.

The social networking giant, which now boasts 1.19 billion active monthly users, is looking at tracking software that would tell it where a user has placed their cursor and how long they hover over certain areas of the Facebook website, according to The Wall Street Journal. It may also start mining data on whether a specific user is looking at the Facebook newsfeed on their mobile phone at any particular point in time.

Facebook said information of this nature could be added to its data analytics warehouse, which already holds 300 petabytes of information and is available for use throughout the company to help with product development and targeted advertising.

The tests are ongoing but if the technology is rolled out it could be perceived by some Facebook users as an invasion of privacy.

Facebook's head of analytics, Ken Rudin, said in an interview: "It is a never-ending phase. I can't promise that it will roll out. We probably will know in a couple of months."

Rudin added that the company is assessing whether tracking a user's mouse movements makes business sense.

If the Menlo Park-headquartered firm does decide to roll out the new tracking software then it would become the first social media network to do so. However, other sites like internet photo service Shutterstock already collect data on their user's mouse movements.

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