Everything you wanted to know about Facebook Connect and some things you probably didn’t

This is amazingtunes.com. This is also amazingtunes.com trying to get you to log in using Facebook Connect.

What is Facebook Connect? Facebook launched it in 2007 as a way to allow “users to ‘connect’ their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any site.” Any site with a Facebook Connect feature.

Think of it as an early version of Open Graph. By clicking “f log in” on amazingtunes.com, I’m essentially logging in through my Facebook account, and amazingtunes.com is using that information instead of making me create another account specifically for amazingtunes.com. With this multitasking super account, I can take my Facebook profile information and share my music experiences with my Facebook friends, find new Facebook friends that are also connected to amazingtunes.com, or I can receive Facebook posts from amazingtunes.com about new music that I might like on their site. I also get access to certain music for free if I’m logged in through Facebook Connect on their site.

Facebook Connect is also not without benefits to the third party websites that use it. One reason is demographics. Facebook Connect gives third party advertisers the ability to have more information about the people who visit their site. This particular part of Facebook Connect is called Insight, and it looks something like this:

Now while the benefits of using Facebook Connect are measurable, like all Facebook features, it’s a two way street. You still have to give permission for the third-party site to access your Facebook information. You also may be logged in automatically if your computer goes to that site again. Facebook calls Facebook Connect an aid for “dynamic privacy,” because your Facebook privacy settings remain the same despite which external website you log into. So, if you choose, you can not automatically log in to every website you connect to.

So how popular is this feature? Within two to three years of its launch, Mashable.com quoted that “more than 250 million people are using Facebook Connect on third-party sites every month.” It also didn’t hurt that by 2010, two million websites added the Facebook Connect feature, with 10,000 more websites adding the feature daily. And that was two years ago.

With all the updates that Facebook has to offer now, it’s easy to confuse Facebook Connect with other features. Take for example, Facebook Applications. By now, you probably think that they are the same thing. They’re not. According to NewsCloud, while Facebook Connect and Facebook Apps are both geared towards online personalization, they have one fundamental difference. Facebook Apps can be used entirely in Facebook, while Facebook Connect can not. With Facebook Connect, users will have to leave their Facebook page and connect while on the third party site. This is seen as a disadvantage, because users may want to leave the third party website sooner, in order to get back to their Facebook page. With a Facebook App, a user can be connected with a third party website while still completing actions in their Facebook account. The disadvantage to Facebook Apps is that Facebook controls all the advertising on a Facebook page, but if a user is on third party website using Facebook Connect, the third party has control over the advertising the user sees. Facebook Connect is also easier to load and is more programming-friendly.

While they are different, Facebook Apps and Facebook Connect should not be seen as competitors because the two programs can be used separately or can run in tandem.

Open Graph may revolution Facebook personalization now, but it’s important to know that Facebook Connect is the original Facebook feature pioneer.


2 Comments on “Everything you wanted to know about Facebook Connect and some things you probably didn’t”

  1. jluton says:

    Thanks for the clarification Andrea. I found this post most helpful in understanding exactly what Facebook connect is.

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