Facebook Joins OpenID Foundation Board

Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s VP of Engineering, announced today that Facebook has joined the OpenID Foundation’s board as a sustaining corporate member.

The move is a big bolster to the OpenID movement, which hopes to create an “open, decentralized, free” framework for user identity across the web. The OpenID Foundation was formed in 2007 to help promote the OpenID technologies and community, and is currently governed by 7 community elected board members and 7 corporate board members. Facebook engineer Luke Shephard, a “huge internal advocate for OpenID,” will serve as Facebook’s representative.

Facebook has been participating in OpenID discussions throughout the development of Facebook Connect. Facebook’s Julie Zhou presented at the UX Summit held at Yahoo last October. Facebook will host a similar OpenID design summit at its Palo Alto headquarters next week, which will include designers from “Facebook, the DiSo Project, Google, JanRain, MySpace, Six Apart and Yahoo!, focusing on how existing OpenID implementations could support an experience similar to Facebook Connect.”

“Facebook’s financial contribution along with its membership on the board signals the company’s enthusiasm to work more closely with the OpenID community, building up momentum towards their adoption of OpenID as a standard,” David Recordon and Chris Messsina said on the OpenID blog.

“We see great opportunities to increase our contributions across the open stack, and to continue our work with the open source community to evolve existing projects like memcached and new technologies like Thrift, which is now being used by companies such as Powerset, iMeem, Rapleaf, Amie Street, last.fm and reCAPTCHA. The future of an open and social Web will be measured not by protocols, but by how much we collectively improve the standards and technologies that enable us and others to give people more powerful ways to share and connect,” Facebook’s Shroepfer said today.

By putting its weight and financial support behind OpenID, it’s clear that Facebook is pretty serious about furthering the OpenID movement. However, it will likely take a lot of collaboration between Facebook and OpenID to hammer out details on multiple issues (like user experience and security) before Facebook would become a full OpenID relying party (i.e. start accepting OpenIDs from other providers on Facebook), Chris Messina told Inside Facebook.

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