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If you have a website or an app, you may request that your users create an account to access certain functions on your program. However, setting up an account can be onerous and may act as a deterrent to users signing up with you. As an alternative, you can offer your users the option to login via Facebook. In this article, we look at the advantages and disadvantages of using Facebook to allow users to sign up for your service.

Commercial Considerations

Advantages

Allowing users to log in using their Facebook account has several commercial advantages. First, it offers great convenience to your users. Instead of providing personal details, creating a new password and setting up a profile, users only need to input their email and Facebook password to create an account.

It can also be a good marketing strategy for your business. Once users sign up via Facebook, you will receive access to their data as entered with Facebook. Assuming it is accurate, this data is useful in establishing profiles of your users and consequently allowing you to target your product or service to specific users.

Furthermore, Facebook is a brand which your users will recognise. This means they may place more trust in your website if logging in via Facebook.

Disadvantages

On the other hand, using a Facebook login means losing a certain degree of control as access to your program will be dictated by Facebook’s operations, including any downtime by Facebook.

Facebook may also remove your user from their website, which will affect your user’s access to your website or app if they usually login via Facebook.

Additionally, be aware that having Facebook’s branding on your website or application may dilute your brand. This is because you will need to display Facebook branding, effectively resulting in your brand competing with the Facebook brand.

Legal Considerations

Facebook’s Platform Policy

Facebook has a platform policy which sets out how developers can integrate varying Facebook functions. It is important to familiarise yourself with this policy before adding the Facebook login feature. You also need to make sure you are compliant with their terms. These terms include:

  • using a Facebook-branded login button that meets Facebook’s criteria; and
  • displaying an easy-to-find and operational logout function.

One of the key steps in setting up the login feature is determining what permissions to ask from your user. For example, do you want access to just their email and profile picture? Or, do you need access to all their photos and date of birth as well?

Be aware that Facebook’s terms currently only permit you to request permissions for data you actually need to improve your users’ experience of your website or application.

Remember that Facebook benefits from your use of their login feature too. For example, they can:

  • access data related to a user who chooses to login via Facebook; and
  • use your name and screenshots of your application for marketing and promotional purposes.

The full list of terms are included in Facebook’s platform policy. You should be aware of what they mean and entail before you choose to add the login feature. If you are unsure, an IT lawyer can help you understand how these terms apply to you and identify any key risks.

Your Privacy Policy

A key term listed in Facebook’s platform policy is the requirement to have a privacy policy which is clear and easily accessible. This privacy policy should set out:

  • what data you collect;
  • why you collect that data;
  • how you store the data;
  • whether you disclose data; and
  • whom disclosure is to and why. 

Accordingly, make sure your privacy policy clearly states that if users log in via Facebook:

  • you can access their Facebook data (make sure you identify exactly which data this is); and
  • they will be sharing any data added to your website or application with Facebook.

Note: Facebook’s platform policy requires you to actually comply with your privacy policy. If you do not understand what you are promising in your policy, get a lawyer to draft a privacy policy for you that reflects your practices and ensure they explain its operation to you.

Your Terms and Conditions

Your terms and conditions should explain the process of creating an account for your website and application. If you offer your users the option of a Facebook login, then you must include an explanation of what this login option means for your users and the method of login.

Your terms and conditions can also briefly explain how you will use a user’s data. However, you should also refer to your privacy policy so that users can read about this topic in more detail.

Tip: By having the Facebook login option, you are removing some of your control over your user’s ability to access your website. Therefore, your terms and conditions should state that your liability is limited for any loss of access to your website/application which is caused by Facebook, as well as for any data security breaches experienced by Facebook.

Key Takeaways

Adding a Facebook login function to your website or application can be convenient for users and your business. However, be aware of Facebook’s policy for integrating their login – especially what you need to do to comply and what you have to give Facebook in return. Additionally, review your terms and conditions and make sure your privacy policy accounts for the data you receive from Facebook.

If you need help with reviewing your obligations or drafting your privacy policy or terms and conditions, get in touch with LegalVision’s online lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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