Tobold's Blog
Friday, October 07, 2011
Stay away from Facebook Connect!

Facebook is offering a functionality called Facebook Connect, which allows third party websites to use Facebook as authentication. I was playing a game called "Die Siedler Online" (The Settlers Online aka Castle Empires Online) from Blue Byte / Ubisoft which used this Facebook Connect functionality as option. Sounded good, one click to login via Facebook, instead of having to type in a username and password every time. Only of course now that Facebook disabled my account, I can't login to Die Siedler Online any more either.

I wrote to the Blue Byte / Ubisoft customer support to get access back to my Die Siedler Online account, but got a reply that they were unable to help me. Basically access is blocked by the application on my Facebook account, and unless I delete that application on Facebook, I can't play Die Siedler Online any more. But of course I *can't* delete the Facebook application, because Facebook blocks me from accessing my account. So in spite of not having violated any of the Terms of Service of Blue Byte / Ubisoft, I've been effectively banned from their game as well.

Moral of the story: Do not use the Facebook Connect option on other websites. If ever you get into trouble with Facebook (and they can ban you for playing games with strangers), you also lose access to all other sites you connect to via Facebook Connect. Big Brother is not only watching you, he is actually controlling what you can do on the internet.

Shouldn't the title be... Do not use Facebook connect if you plan to upset Facebook and get your account disabled by them??
I doubt anybody banned from Facebook actually planned it. And I likewise doubt that many people did read the Facebook ToS closely enough to notice rules like "Facebook can ban you if you invite strangers to be your neighbors in Facebook games".
And Tobold's Facebook Woes continue.

I wonder how many ways you will figure out by 2011's end that Facebook screwed you in?
The day Google disables my account I will be screwed by an order of magnitude more. I'd lose all my mail, my blog, my contacts, my Tobold identity. And people are surprised that I don't put any of my Real Life stuff on the internet.
Speaking of Google - you never told us how you got on when they asked you to prove you are the "Real Tobold". I assume the fact that you are still here means they accepted your proof.
They never wrote me that they accepted my identity, but they didn't carry through their initial threat of blocking my Google+ account. I have a faint suspicion that my case was decided by an algorithm instead of a person, and that algorithm accepted the links I sent "proving" my Tobold identity.
Did the Settlers ever ask you for your nickname? I know it pulls your email address from Facebook, so you might be able to reset your password if you remember those two pieces of information.
FYI, you can create a account and play the American/English version of it here: won't be able to pick up where you left off with the German version and your Facebook account, but at least you can keep playing...
You have my sympathy there. I've avoided Facebook Connect for this very reason, although I've also blocked facebook games from coming anywhere near my inbox.

Fingers crossed that Google doesn't lock you out as well. I've removed my account on Google+ (even though it used my real name) partly to protect my access to all the other services I use.
How about you enter your Tobold name as "K√ľnstlername" on your passport. With that you can proof you are Tobold and might get your account back :p
I wouldn't rely too much on the algorithm theory. The day you will get banned from Google you will suffer a hard loss.
Eh, I generally don't use the Facebook connect thing anyway, just because I don't like the idea of applications pulling my personal data indiscriminately.

Course, that's also why I don't use applications at all. Never particularly appreciated being able to fill out personal information when creating an account for a game before Facebook, really. If you had to put in all the information you had on your Facebook manually into a form to create, say, a account? Most people would suddenly feel really queasy about giving all that away. But since it's automated...
I think this warning should be for games developers more than players. It's always dangerous to link you success to someone else platform too tightly.
I'm not seeing how BlueByte wouldn't be able to switch your account from Facebook Connect to standalone.

At least when my team and me implemented FB Connect for a website, we're hardly noticing the difference when the user is signed up.

Given a desire to satisfy the customer I'd think it would take us 5mins to fix that.
Yes... Your fatal mistake was treating facebook games as the games they're disguised as instead of the ponzi schemes they're meant to be. How dare you inadvertently subvert commercial gain for the sake of your entertainment and enjoyment - that's totally violating the spirit of your agreement with the 'game' publishers.

Where's Tyler Durden when you need him?

thanks for sharing this Tobold.

I was aware of the possibility of these kind of things happening but had not heard of it in the wild.

This sounds like to me a brazen attempt by FB to "capture" users from other entry points. Thus making FB the authentication portal for a whole host of media.

Very troubling that an advertising driven company would take on the responsibility of a service provider (auth services) BUT not take on the liability of "failure to provide".

This is a major lawyer fiasco with the game company. They should always be able to "de-link" users from partner services. But FB has made it so users like yourself are FB-ized probably by contract.

Very troubling... reminds me of the bad old days with Microsoft and Netscape.
Thinking at the next level of these kind of things.

I TOO guard my anonymity with great care. In my professional life it would not be good for people to trace my random posts on the internet.

With stunts like this FB is setting up a very monopolistic circular problem.

To wit:
-Game companies will use FB for authentication and exposure via FB networking
-Game cos will do this because it's "Free" from FB
-Gamers will utilize FB for networking / games because it's "free"
-Game cos and FB will sell virtual goods to games "not free" but "no tangible value"
-FB will be the sole arbiter of access to said virtual goods of no value but which gamers paid money for

So by making a "free" network paid for by advertising that is ever more focused not on groups but individuals...

FB is decreasing internet choice AND becoming a monopoly over entertainment delivery.

Net Net - FB is attempting to be a BBC or ABC "network" with stovepipe offerings and rigid affiliation agreements.

All the hollywood types were swearing to me that people were trying to rebuild "networks" on the internet but I always wondered what angle they would play.

Now I know.
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