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The creepiest thing you didn't know Facebook was tracking

The creepiest thing you didn't know Facebook was tracking
image courtesy of shutterstock

It's not really news that Facebook is in the business of tracking users' every move. Every like, share, click and post is instantly recorded in its massive user database. Now, there's another thing that Facebook is tracking and I'm not sure you're going to like it.

Facebook now keeps tabs on exactly how long you spend with each post you look at on the site. This means that every second you spend scrolling through your timeline and every hilarious cat video you watch six times is documented by its new online attention tracking function.

Facebook's algorithms can dive even deeper into your time and use statistics. The developers at Facebook announced that the newest tracking technology can tell how much time you spend reading a specific story or viewing a certain video. Besides being just a bit creepy that Facebook records how long you linger on each photo, here's why the company claims this is so important.

Facebook goes to incredible lengths to fill your timeline with posts and articles it believes you will most enjoy. You'd probably be surprised to see just how many posts from your friends and pages you follow get filtered out of your timeline. You may never see your friend's new grand baby photos if Facebook thinks you wouldn't be interested in them.

Facebook tries to guess your interests based on the content you have liked, shared or commented on. But Facebook says that doesn't tell the whole story about your interests. Now Facebook is trying to figure out your interest in items even if you don't "like" them.

There may be very good reasons why you don't click like on something is is important to you. For instance, if a friend posts news about a family loss, you may be interested in the update, but not click "like" out of respect for the loss. By measuring how much time you spend with each post, Facebook now has an additional way to measure your interests.

The technology itself isn't new, however. There have been developers trying to crack the code of what draws users' attention for years. Before Facebook's tracking technology, there was heat tracking, the study of where website visitors move their computer cursor around the screen.

This information, like the information now being gathered by Facebook, shows exactly what users are interested in. Content shown to specific users can be adjusted to show material that they would be more intrigued by.

The online attention statistics about you are already being gathered by Facebook. So what do you think of this new technology? Is it super creepy or nice to know? Tell me what you think by leaving me a comment below.

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Source: Slate
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