If you like to comment on news articles or rate retail products on eCommerce websites or give product reviews, you might have come across Facebook Connect or its twitter or G+ counterparts. Facebook Connect is a tool that Facebook says on its developer site can allow website publishers to “simplify or eliminate your own user registration and sign-in…. the Graph API lets you access the full social graph of a given user, allowing you to create a truly deep personal experience.”
Of course there is the argument that Facebook Connect is not only a useful tool for website publishers to enable social engagement on their websites, but it’s also a positive user experience for the reader. In the world we live in where there are 2.1 billion online users according to pingdom, one can only imagine how many individual website login accounts an individual has. Facebook Connect offers a solution for the user who doesn’t want to create another account with another website so that they can comment and engage. And for websites using the social media logins there are many advantages.
Since employing tools like Facebook Connect, many website publishers have seen more constructive and often less abusive comments. This is because when a user logs-in to leave a message via Facebook or twitter or G+, their comment makes them personally identifiable. The comment is paired with the user’s facebook profile pic and their full name – which is hyperlinked and links through to their social media profile.
When users were able to create an account with a bogus name and fake email address or leave an anonymous/ guest comment, users took advantage by being abusive, insolent and discourteous to the author or the article and other users commenting within the community. Websites that implemented Facebook Connect early on when it was released in 2008 (here is a list of websites that were already using Facebook connect in 2008) did so because they didn’t have or want to have a login functionality to their website, so they outsourced it. It was a pleasant surprise to find that by making their engaged users personally identifiable, it provided built in moderation as well.
Facebook Connect and social media logins to leave comments and reviews is important for website publishers because research from Nielsen Online in April 2012, The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, shows that “when looking for information about the products you want and need” 75% of people rely on consumer opinions posted online – as the graph from page 8 of the report shows below.
The benefit of using Facebook Connect to allow people to make comments on websites means that if I go to one of these websites looking for a product, and I’m logged into facebook in another browser tab, I can see if any of my friends have LIKED the same website or commented on the same product, and that is even more useful.
As you can see from the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey below, the only thing people trust more than consumer opinions online, is the recommendations from people they already know. At 90%, this is very compelling for website owners.
So, if you have a website and you want to allow users to leave a comment, rate a product or give a review, can I suggest that you consider implementing Facebook Connect – not only because it gives you many advantages and reduces the need for onerous moderation, but because it provides an easy to use and eloquent solution to your users.
One last note: For regular readers of my blog, you may remember an article back in January on the dangers of using social media logins for non-social media websites. Facebook Connect does allow website publishers to access much of the information you have attached to your Facebook profile. You have a choice whether you allow this data to be transferred to the website owner. Facebook will ask you for permission and tell you what type of data they are sharing (see example below). Different websites will ask for different amounts of information about its users, so its up to you who you choose to share your information with and who you don’t. It also depends if you still believe you have any privacy online – I myself know that my supposed privacy dissolved the minute I got my first credit card.