No Facebook Login Here

This marks weekend #2 of working on my Joomla site. One of the things I’m focusing on now is the user registration and login features. My template comes with the option to have site visitors login using their Facebook credentials (commonly known as Facebook Connect). However after looking at the Facebook API requirements and thinking about its implications on my website, I decided to disable the feature entirely.

There are plenty of web developers who fully support the facebook login option. It does have its benefits, however I am not the type to just follow suit without questioning the “why” behind it. The main benefit is that users do not have to set up a new account just for your site. They can just use their Facebook credentials to be a registered user on your site with just the click of a button. And secondly, it makes it easy for the user to share their activity on the site on Facebook. But is this what I really want or even need on my site?

Think about it. For my site, I want people to register if they want to contribute to the site content. That’s it really. For comments, I have Disqus installed, which gives you the option to login with Facebook or Twitter or any of the many other options out there in order to leave a comment. It’s much more inclusive. And as far as sharing, Facebook is popular for sure, but it is not the only game in town. Why do I want to make it any easier for you to share activity on Facebook as opposed to Twitter or Google+? And finally, when my login screen gives me the option to either login with my site account or login with Facebook, what does that communicate? Does the average end user know the difference? Do I really want to give them a choice? Do I want Facebook to rob me of the ability to screen my registered site users?

But the nail in the coffin is when I went over to set up an application on the Facebook developers page. Apparently Facebook requires a ‘secure canvas URL’ in order to install the Facebook connect feature on your website. That means you need a SSL license. Although this doesn’t cost much, I am really not interested in spending money to enable this feature on my site. Of all of the APIs I’ve had to set up, this is the only one that has asked for this. Pretty bold if I must say so myself.

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After watching the video above, I thought about the website Kveller…which is a wonderful website but they force you to login with Facebook in order to comment. Because of that, I have never commented on the site. I do not want to do that to people who visit my site. I want them to feel like they can use the site without being coerced into sharing their activity with a third party. It very well may a longer time for people to learn about the site, but that is a risk that I am willing to take.