With Facebook Connect, you get to give the visitors to your website another option to log in. It’s a really bad idea to allow anonymous posting/commenting or any other interaction with your site because that becomes the gateway to heaven for spammers and you’ll have to spend large amounts of time moderating your website. However if you force all users to register on your site, chances are that very few will actually do so.

Therefore Facebook login is a really good way to register users on your site. You don’t have to send them email with a confirmation link to verify their accounts because Facebook has already done the hard work for you. With a simple click, users can be registered on your site and post comments or have access to any other functionality that would otherwise require a registration. This works well since people hate having to register on every single website they go to (fill out the register form, choose a password, check inbox to verify email address etc) and having to remember yet another password.

As a webmaster, you’re happy because your users are happy with a simplified process to interact with your site. You are able to get their email address and name as well (other details could be asked for t00). However the problem arises when you get an invalid email address with Facebook Connect. Let me explain that because it won’t make sense until I do. To register on Facebook, you need a valid email address and upon registering, you will have to confirm that your email address is genuine by clicking on a link that Facebook will send to you. Some people however, stop using that email address with which they registered on Facebook. Many free email service providers like Yahoo/Hotmail will delete your account if you do not check your email account in a period of 6 months. If that happens, then when someone tries to login with Facebook on your site, you will eventually get an invalid email address and that’s where the problem starts.

The whole point of using Facebook Connect is to make it easy for people to interact with your site. You therefore don’t have a way to verify that the email address you’re getting is valid or not. Well, you could actually send the normal confirmation email to the user but to me it’s an overkill. Fortunately most people who use Facebook have a valid & active email address associated with it. So the chances of that happening is really low but still it does happen and I found out about this because notification emails were being bounced back to me for some users who have used Facebook login (Remote host said: 550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable).

On a side note, Facebook does its best to alert users when they are using an email account which is invalid. When the user logs onto Facebook, there’s a message telling them to update their email address as they’ve been having problems delivering emails for notifications (likes, comments etc). Should the user not update their primary email address, then the problem will continue.

21/Jul/2012

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