Put yourself in situation. You want to buy a few novels to accompany you on your last summer getaway to the beach, so you type the name of a bookstore chain on your laptop, access its website and try to log in to add titles to the virtual basket. The problem is that you don’t remember your password. Maybe you don’t even have a profile. And the last thing you want to do is create a new account and password which you will probably end up forgetting in a matter of days.
Solution? Click on the Facebook logo and use your social network account.
The gesture is intuitive, fast, and uncomplicated, but it’s becoming more and more rare that you can do it. Perhaps it has gone unnoticed, but the blue Facebook “button” has been disappearing from the websites of a few multinationals that did include it until not so long ago.
It is detailed by CNBC, which lists about a dozen brands that have opted for eliminate the possibility to log in to their websites with Mark Zuckerberg’s social network.
As an example, the American chain cites the technology company Dell, which until about a month ago allowed customers who did not want to create a profile on its website to access directly with Facebook credentials. Now that option is no longer available.
The key: the context
A similar step, the chain specifies, has been taken by Nike, Patagonia, Match or Pottery Barn, to name a few. It may seem like a minor detail, but it marks a change from the Internet of a few years ago, when it was common for websites to allow you to log in with Facebook, Google or LinkedIn. Even today there are numerous companies, such as Fnac or Decathlon —and that to point out just a couple of cases again— that continue to offer it as an alternative to identify themselves.
“We just looked at how many people chose to use their social media identity to log in, and that has changed over time”, Tells CNBC Jen Felch, from Dell.
Which is the reason?
The firm points to several possible explanations, such as the security concern or privacy or data sharing. “One thing we see in the industry is more and more security risks or account takeovers, whether it’s Instagram, Facebook or whatever. And I think we’re just seeing people make the decision to isolate that account.” .
The context is relevant and is marked, among many other factors, by the increasing attention paid to privacy on the Internet. A recent study published by Motive showed that nine out of ten Spaniards are concerned about how their personal data is used and an overwhelming 97% even consider it essential that their information be protected.
Facebook has also been shaken by scandals such as Cambridge Analytica, the spread of disinformation during the pandemic or the storm unleashed by Frances Haugen leaks. Just a few days ago it also emerged that Meta has reached an out-of-court settlement in a class action lawsuit for violating user privacy.
Beyond the reputational cost that these controversies may have had for Facebook, another explanation is that companies are directly dispensing with logins with networks because they no longer provide the same value. What was supposed to be a win win, a relationship that allowed them to capitalize on the growing success of the networks, would have lost interest years ago.
Analyst Stephanie Liu explains to CNBC that after the Cambridge Analytics episode, Zuckerberg’s company “restricted” the volume of user data it shares with its partners, which would explain why companies use the Facebook “button” less. “They get less information about their users and who they are and how to communicate with them outside of Facebook,” she details.
The data is interesting. A report by LoginRadius after examining more than a thousand websites and apps indicates that Google was the preferred option among North Americans who decided to log in with a social network. The percentage of those who opted for Facebook fell several points from 2019 to stand at 38.7%slightly below the percentage of Google (38.9%).
Does it mean that it is no longer used? Absolutely. There are still many companies and games that offer Facebook login, but the change of certain companies is not without significance.
Images | Austin Distel (Unsplash) and Solen Feyissa (Unsplash)
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism