Convenience is king.
We have the option of signing in to many Web sites – from blogs to online communities to business sites – by logging in with Facebook, Twitter, and many other social-media sites.
But is it safe?
Here’s the scenario: You occasionally visit “downloadsRus.org” (not a real site), but can’t seem to remember your password every time. As a savvy Web user, you know to use unique passwords for each login, but when you have so many to remember …
“downloadsRus.org” offers to let you in with your Facebook login.
You’re on Facebook more often than “downloadsRus.com,” so why not? You remember that password. Besides, who needs another password to remember? You log in with Facebook, and you’re in.
But you’ve also given “downloadsRus.com” access to your Facebook account.
What can happen?
That third-party site communicates with Facebook. It won’t get your password, but it will have your email address. If that site is hacked, your risk is minimal. There is a link now between that third-party site and your Facebook account, but you can cut those ties via Facebook account management.
Facebook also allows you to see what your friends like on third-party sites you have in common.
All of this is great, right? Such a timesaver. It’s cool to see if any of your contacts are also on “downloadsRus.org,” and what they are checking out. However, some third-party sites will ask for permission to post on your social media account with which you sign in.
This is how that advertisement for cheap tablets can magically appear on your timeline.
What do they want?
Not all sites will automatically update a user’s feed, but it isn’t always easy to determine which do. So how can you double-up your logins and get the convenience of easier access without anything shady from that third-party site, or, worse, from someone who hacked it?
When you sign in with a social sign-in, it’s like giving someone a key to your house, but having a different key to your den (with your computer and flat-screen TV), liquor locker and coin collection that you don’t give them. They have access, but not total access.
A study by Gigya, which builds social sign-in infrastructure for brands, revealed that nearly half of American Web users have never used a social sign-in.
Those who had used one cited three main reasons for doing so:
- To reduce usernames and passwords
- To avoid registration forms
- To share content with contacts on social networks easily
Those who didn’t cited three reasons, also:
- Reluctance to transfer personal data to a Web site or app
- Concern over Web activity being shared to social networks without permission
- Uncertainty of how personal data would be used
The bottom line
The amount of your data each social media login shares will vary. Check out the chart below, and then decide: What am I willing to give up for convenience?
|Web site||About you||Friends/Contacts|
|About Me, address, addresses, birthday, books, current location, display name, emails, family name, formatted name, friends list, gender, given name, homepage, interested in meeting, interests, last updated, movies, music, organizations, photos, preferred username, profile photo, relationship status, status, time zone, TV shows, URLs, verified email||About me, address, addresses, birthday, books, current location, display name, family name, formatted name, gender, given name, homepage, interested in meeting, interests, last updated, movies, music, organizations, photos, preferred user name, profile photo, relationship status, status, time zone, TV shows, URLs|
|About me, accounts, address, addresses, birthday, current location, display name, family name, formatted name, friends list, given name, homepage, IMs, interests, job interests, note, organizations, phone number, phone numbers, preferred username, profile photo, photos, positions, status, URLs||About me, address, birthday, current location, display name, family name, formatted name, given name, IMs, organizations, phone numbers, photos, preferred username, status, URLs|
|Display name, formatted name, homepage, preferred username, profile photo||Profile URL|
|Family name, given name, verified email, addresses, languages spoken||Display name, emails|
Source: Content Synergy
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