OAuth is convenient when you want to allow users to log in to your site, but you don’t have the security know-how to handle the process of transmission and storage. OAuth also makes it convenient for users to log in to your site, and you still get access to social media data. When a social media platform gives you access to an API for web development, you should do data mining responsibly. This article gives developers five dos and don’ts (as per user data) when using OAuth for social media login and access.
Using Oauth for Social Media Access
Keeping your customer data secure is one of the most important yet difficult parts of doing business online. OAuth gives you a way to deal with customer logins without housing any of the critical data when authenticating a user. Have you ever seen the “Log in using Facebook” button some online businesses use for handling user authentication? This button “talks” to another website (specifically, the social media site – Facebook in this case), and it’s this third-party application that verifies the user name and password. The open standard used to authenticate users is OAuth. It’s used by most social media outlets that let you authorize users with an API, but you’re still responsible for using third-party data responsibly.
You can read more about the benefits of using OAuth for login and access here: How OAuth Can Make Your Web App Safer and More Useful
Don’t Annoyingly Post to Users’ Facebook Walls
Have you ever had friends complain that some program is auto-generating Facebook Wall posts? Auto-generating posts about the status of a game or even just random comments to market your app is not only annoying to users but it reduces trust with your customers. Be responsible when having access to your customer’s social media.
Don’t Try to Intercept Data
OAuth handles the messaging between your site and the third-party social media site. You don’t want to phish for information you shouldn’t have access to. For instance, don’t try to intercept a user’s name and password and log it for your own malicious intent. It’s better to have a trustworthy site that customers love than have a short-term malicious site that customers distrust. Any malicious activity can also lead to any access to third-party APIs rescinded.
Do Give Users Multiple Options
Most developers use Facebook’s login API, because it’s assumed that most people have a Facebook account. However, there is always a chance that some of your users don’t use Facebook. OAuth is used by a vast number of social media outlets including Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, Google, LinkedIn and Tumblr. Give your users several options when you use OAuth for logins. Just in case a user doesn’t have Facebook, use one or two other social media platforms for login options.
Do Keep Your Users Data Secure When You Mine Their Data
When a user logs in using social media, the social media site tells the user what access is given to your app. This aligns with social media’s attempt to be open about what type of data is given to a third-party. When the user logs in to social media from your site, you are the third-party. If you abuse access, the user can revoke access at any time.
When you are given access to data, you have the option to privately store that data. Even though social media handles login information, you still need to take the necessary precautions to secure any data you extract from the API and store into your database. If the data is sensitive and could cause identity theft problems for your users, make sure you add encryption to your storage routine.
OAuth is convenient for developers. You can let go of any complex login procedures and let the social media API handle it. However, the onus is still on the site developer to keep users’ data safe and use customers’ social media access responsibly.