Facebook has launched a new registration tool that lets website developers provide a quick and easy way for users to sign up using their data from Facebook.
The tool, a counterpart to Facebook Login, involves customizing and inserting a small amount of code into a website’s pages, which then operates as a signup form.
Website developers can ask for specific fields required for an account (for example: name, birthday, gender, location, email), or add custom fields and dropdowns of their own. All the information contained by Facebook is automatically filled into these fields, which users hand over to the website when they click “Register.” If the website doesn’t require a Facebook account to signup, the form can also operate as a standalone signup form.
At a time when every website seems to work with its own signup process, the move comes as an attempt by Facebook to simplify matters for consumers. But at the same time, Facebook has everything to gain by acting as the middleman for signups and having more Web developers work with Facebook’s code.
Is this good for users? Facebook is essentially asking its users to allow it to hand over their data to third-party sites. It serves a longstanding goal of Facebook, which is to get users to use one consistent and real identity — their Facebook identity — across the Web.
But users may rebel. Most trust Facebook with their birthdays, for example, because it allows their friends to shower them with birthday greetings, but may hesitate at entering their real birthday to an unknown website. And Facebook, not that site, will face the backlash.
In a year when every other Facebook announcement seems to have instigated a privacy backlash, one wonders about the kind of response this announcement will generate as websites begin incorporating it. There’s surely mischief that can be accomplished with it. As Facebook spreads its wings even further, which new feathers will it ruffle?