UPDATED: How Facebook May Collect Even More User Data

By David Cohen 

BigBrotherIsWatching650Forget click-through rates: Those are so two hours ago. If Facebook Head of Analytics Ken Rudin has his way, the social network may soon be measuring pass-over rates.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal blog, Rudin said Facebook is testing technology that would enable it to measure the briefest interactions with content on the social network, such as the length of time users’ mouse cursors hover over posts, or whether News Feed is visible on users’ mobile devices.

Rudin told CIO Journal that the tests are ongoing, but Facebook will decide within months whether to try to capture what it calls behavioral data, in real-time, adding that those data would help the social network with initiatives such as product development and more precise ad targeting.

He offered more details to CIO Journal:

Did your cursor hover over that ad … and was the News Feed in a viewable area? It is a never-ending phase. I can’t promise that it will roll out. We probably will know in a couple of months. Instead of a warehouse of data, you can end up with a junkyard of data.

With that last sentence, Rudin was emphasizing the importance of indexing those massive amounts of data and making them accessible.

UPDATED: A Facebook spokesperson added a clarification:

Like most websites, we run numerous tests at any given time to ensure that we’re creating the best experience possible for people on Facebook. These experiments look at aggregate trends of how people interact with the site to inform future product decisions. We do not share this information with anyone outside of Facebook, and we are not using this information to target ads.

Readers: Do you think Facebook is going too far, or will this information be useful?

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