F8: Facebook Gives Control Back To Users With Anonymous Login, Revamped Facebook Login

AnonymousLogin650Most mobile applications include social logins, and Facebook Login is the most-used one by a healthy margin. At its F8 global developer conference in San Francisco Wednesday, the social network introduced a new Anonymous Login feature for developers to include in their apps, as well as a new version of its standard Login, and a redesigned app control panel.

Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg devoted a good chunk of his F8 keynote address to giving users more control over the data they share with apps, and Anonymous Login is a large step forward in that direction, as it allows Facebook users to log into apps without sharing any of their personal data from the social network.

Facebook said in a Newsroom post introducing Anonymous Login:

Sometimes people want to try out apps, but they’re not ready to share any information about themselves. For this, we’re introducing a way to log in to apps anonymously.

Anonymous Login lets people log in to apps so that they don’t have to remember user names and passwords, but it doesn’t share personal information from Facebook. People can decide later if they want to share any additional information, once they understand more about the app.

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We are testing Anonymous Login with a few developers, and we plan to open it up to more developers in the coming months.

Similarly, a post on the social network’s developer blog added:

Finally, some people want to log into apps without sharing their Facebook information at all. With Anonymous Login, people can do just that. Apps will still get the benefit of Facebook identity verification and cross-platform sync, and people can easily upgrade to the full Facebook Login experience later on.

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Facebook also added what it calls line-by-line control to its standard app Login, allowing users to specify which information apps are allowed to share, and which data are off-limits. In the Newsroom post, the social network said of the revamped Login:

Today we introduced a new version of Login. With the new Login, people can select the data an app gets by unchecking categories of information, one by one. For example, if someone wants to share their email address with an app, but not their birthday, they can make that choice with a couple of taps.

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The new Facebook Login also won’t post to Facebook without permission.

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Finally, we’ll soon start reviewing new apps that use Facebook Login to help ensure that higher-quality apps are available to people — apps that ask for the information they actually need and aren’t posting anything back to Facebook without people’s explicit permission.

The new Login will be rolling out over the next few months.

The post on the developer blog added:

Facebook Login is a fast and convenient way for people to sign into their favorite apps without having to remember another password. In 2013, we updated login to clarify when an app is requesting permission to share back to Facebook. This change contributed to a 10 percent increase in login conversion rates over the past year.

Today, we’re making additional improvements to Login based on people’s feedback:

First, people want more control over sharing their personal information with apps. The new Facebook Login lets people edit the info that they provide.

We’ve also introduced a new design for when apps are requesting permission to post back to Facebook. This design highlights the audience that apps will post to.

Second, we’ve heard from people that they’re often surprised when a friend shares their information with an app. So we’ve updated Facebook Login so that each person decides what information they want to share about themselves, including their friend list.

Third, people tell us that some apps ask for too many permissions. To address this, we’re extending our existing App Center and Open Graph review process to Login. During Login review, we’ll look at and approve any permissions that an app requests beyond public profile, email, and friend list. Our goal is to help apps follow best practices while still keeping the review process fast and lightweight.

The social network also redesigned its app control panel, to give users a clearer look at which apps they use and which permissions they have granted, as well as to simplify the process of removing apps entirely. Facebook said in the Newsroom post:

After people log in to apps using Facebook, we want to give them a clear and simple way to keep track of their Facebook-connected apps.

So today we also announced a newly designed dashboard where people can see a list of apps they use, manage specific permissions, or remove apps entirely. It will be rolling out over the coming weeks.

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The ink was barely dry on Facebook’s announcements when reaction began to flow in from the social media sector.

Gigya CEO Patrick Salyer said of Facebook’s Login-related announcements at F8:

The changes Facebook announced today regarding Facebook Login mark a major milestone for trust and transparency between brands and consumers. First-party, permission-based data is integral to the future of marketing and better user interactions with brands, but that can’t happen without transparency.

That’s why we think the changes coming to Facebook Login are a big win for everyone. Allowing consumers to control and understand what data they are providing brands with fosters more trust with those brands and will ultimately provide for a better user experience while making users more willing to share their data on mutually beneficial terms.

It’s hugely important that brands understand that capturing user data needs to be part of a “virtual handshake,” where the users not only understand what data they are providing, but also how their data will be used and what value they will receive in exchange for it.

Janrain CEO Larry Drebes added:

It’s encouraging to see Facebook address more granular controls over data sharing with line-by-line controls. Consumers don’t have many options to log in without sharing data, and they don’t have clarity on what that data is.

Consumers want a personalized experience when interacting with brands across devices, but they don’t always want to hand over their data. Anonymous Login solves this by enabling a connected experience for consumers across devices without having to share more personal information than they’re comfortable with.

And MyPermissions CEO Olivier Amar offered some perspective from the security side, saying:

Although there are still lots of open questions regarding how long users will be able to try apps for, instant personalization, and other items, today Facebook raised the bar when it comes to accessing people’s personal information, data, privacy, and allowing users to take control over what others can access. This is a major milestone for Facebook and for app developers in general — putting the customer experience first and putting users back in the driver’s seat.

Readers: What did you think of Anonymous Login and the changes to Facebook Login?

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