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Is User Trust In Facebook Declining?

Fell Swoop has conducted many usability tests that involved using Facebook to login to a website or mobile app. It’s always been interesting to watch how people react to this feature.

Many people had no problem with the idea of logging in via Facebook, in fact some preferred it to creating a new account. And of course, there were always those who had concerns with this feature. Usually it was related to privacy — people weren’t comfortable with giving additional information to Facebook. People also told us they were concerned with spamming their friends. Even when explicitly told that the application would not post on their behalf they were reluctant to trust it. Even with these concerns some people would connect via Facebook anyway.

Over the past 18 months this split has been pretty close to 50/50. Attitudes would skew one way or another depending on the personas involved but overall the trends seemed pretty consistent.

Nearly 90% of the participants indicated they would not login with Facebook.

And then last week we ran another test that involved Facebook Connect. It had been at least two months since the last one, but we weren’t really expecting attitudes to have changed that much. Nearly 90% of the participants indicated they would not login with Facebook. Some indicated they would look for an alternative, such as email, but many said the would just leave and abandon their task.

At first this was surprising, but as we thought about it we realized Facebook has been receiving a lot of negative press recently. Their IPO didn’t go the way many people expected and concerns over digital privacy as a whole are often making headlines.

It’s too early to tell if these results were an outlier or if attitudes have truly shifted, but it’s certainly something we will be watching closely.