With Facebook Connect, it makes it easy for a developer to integrate Facebook’s login to their website and use a user’s Facebook credentials on another website. The only problem with this is is if a user has a login problem, there’s nothing you can do if a user has issues logging in, it makes it very hard to deal with. I recently had such an issue, where I learned the extent of this problem.
I learned of a major brand’s holiday contest through a friend who worked on it, which was giving away prizes for every day of December. I signed up on the fourth day of the giveaway and attempted to enter that day plus the days that I missed. Unfortunately, there were some problems and I had to have my entries rest for the contest, after I had entered all four days plus did the Twitter and Facebook links for all the additional contest entries. I logged out, logged back in and redid all my entries. The problem didn’t occur until I tried to log in the following day to enter again.
When I attempted to log into the site with Facebook, I came to an error page. While conversing back and forth with email, the tech support staff was trying to figure it out on their end. We worked on what could be the problem until they finally checked the results from the Facebook Connect login and found out it was giving an error code because it tried to send all those messages the first day I tried to enter. There was nothing more the tech team could do and there was no one to contact at Facebook because it’s a large, faceless organization with questionable customer support.
So now I am locked out of the contest, which isn’t as big a loss as being locked out of a major website that I use on a regular basis. If a user gets locked out of a website, there is nothing that can be done to help the user get back on the site. While it’s a good way to get user info for a site or create a cool mashup like the British tv show Misfits, it is a serious problem if Facebook locks a user out of your site and there’s no possible way to support the user. Using Facebook Connect should be a possible login, but there needs to be alternate logins to keep outside websites from having too much control over your website and its users.