The Facebook Login Button: Implementing the Social Graph on Your Website

Written by James GunterDecember 2, 2010
Facebook Login Button

Back at the F8 Conference in April, Mark Zuckerberg announced the demise of Facebook Connect and the rise of what he called the “social graph.” The social graph is the idea that everything we do should be socially integrated on the web. Although Facebook Connect was a great starter tool to begin getting people used to connecting their favorite sites together and sharing them with friends, it was a bit sloppy—kind of like taking a sledgehammer to a watermelon. Sure, you get smaller pieces of watermelon, but you also make a big mess.

In place of Facebook Connect, Zuckerberg introduced a host of smaller social plugins that, instead of a sledgehammer, act more like paring knives, so you can cut the watermelon up nice and neat. These social plugins also allow Facebook users more control over their personal information, something Facebook Connect was not very good at.

The Login Social Plugin

All the social plugins are useful in different ways, but if you have a website that requires authentication, or necessitates users creating a username and password, the Facebook Login social plugin (or Login button) can really streamline the user integration process. This streamlining can make it both lower the barrier of entry to your site and give you access to user data you need to create a better user experience on your site.

A Better User Experience

Nowadays, we have so many different logins, usernames, and passwords it’s often hard to keep them all straight. I don’t know about you, but when I approach a site that requires me to—yet again—create another username and password, more often than not I simply turn away. But the Facebook Login button allows people to use their Facebook credentials to log in to your site. That way they don’t have to remember another username and password, and are more likely to join your site. The bottom line: the Login button lowers the barrier of entry for new users to your site.

Get the Data You Need

In addition to allowing users to easily log in to your site, the Login button also allows you to access users’ personal information with their permission. Instead of just giving you permission to access a small set of each user’s data for a specific amount of time, as Facebook Connect did, with the Login button you have the opportunity to ask users for specific information that is already hosted on their Facebook profile. You can do this by adding publishing permissions to the Login button code on your site. When you add publishing permissions to the button, you will enable a popup that asks users for permission to access specific information from their Facebook account.

For example, if you run a site about books, you could ask permission to access a users list of Likes. If there are any books in their Likes list, that information can automatically be populated into their profile on your site.

One of the great things about connecting to Facebook user information is that when their information changes on Facebook, the data on your site will automatically be updated as well, saving users’ time and allowing you to keep the most updated information as possible on your site.

Interact With Users’ Social Graph

Lastly, the Facebook Login button allows your site to interact with your users’ social graph. When they use their Facebook credentials to log in to your site, they can more easily share their activity on your site with their Facebook friends, giving you more exposure and—most likely—generating more user signups. It’s a win-win situation, they get to tell their friends about what they are doing on your site, and you get your name and services paraded in front of your users’ Facebook friends.

Login Fever

All around, incorporating the Facebook Login button on your site makes for a better user experience for your users and allows you to easily access the information you need to make your site more socially interactive and get your name in front of your users’ friends. If you have an established site and are looking for more users or if you are new and just looking to get your name out there, using the Facebook Login button will help your site grow faster and be better.

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