Facebook gives users more options for login, app permissions


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s new mantra of “Move fast with stable infra,” might not be as sexy as “Move fast and break things,” but it reflects Facebook’s shift in ideology. Now that Facebook is 10 years old and a publicly traded company, it is past the risky startup stage and is in a position to give developers, advertisers and users more stability and security.

Moving away from breaking things, Facebook is putting more control over app permissions and login into the users’ hands. Zuckerberg announced at f8 that users will have more granular controls over what data is shared with apps. Additionally, users afraid of the “Login with Facebook,” button now have a way to sign into an app without sharing any Facebook information at all.

As Zuckerberg emphasized that Facebook is putting people first, he described the new controls:

Over the years, one of the things we’ve heard just over and over again is that people want more control over how they share their information, especially with apps, and they want more say and control over how apps use their data. … We take this really seriously. If people don’t have the tools they need to feel comfortable using your apps, then that’s bad for them and it’s bad for you. It will prevent people from having good personalized experiences and trying out new things, but it also might hurt you and prevent you from getting some new potential customers.

The new Facebook Login flow should be available in the coming weeks, while anonymous login is in beta with a few developers with a wider rollout planned in the next few months.

Many people are turned off to connecting to an app via Facebook because apps sometimes want access to the user’s friends list or personal information. Now, there will be a new flow that allows people to determine what is shared.

login1When a user connects with an app through Facebook, they can tap “Edit the info you provide,” to see a list of permissions. If someone is OK with their likes being fair game for an app, but not their email address or birthday, they can set those boundaries.

While this may seem like a stab at developers who want vital information about users, Zuckerberg said it’s an important step forward in trust and getting people to tap that login button with confidence.

Patrick Salyer, CEO of Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer Gigya, feels that the new login process is key in developers’ quests to gain (or regain) the trust of data-shy users:

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.

But what if a user doesn’t want to share information, period? Facebook now caters to these users too. Through anonymous login, Facebook is still the conductor of the login, but no information is taken from the user. Zuckerberg said this is somewhat of a “try before you buy,” tactic, where users can keep their data to themselves while trying out a new app. If the user wants to be a more dedicated user of the app, then they can choose to connect via Facebook.


Facebook blogged about 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 they don’t have to remember usernames 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.

Readers: What do you think about the new login and app permissions features?

Photo by Praneendra Kuver for Inside Facebook.