You are in control of your data.

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Thanks to Cory Doctorow for sharing our provider guide again this week, which showcases the data that consumers might share using social login through Facebook and other identity providers.

Especially because today is international Data Privacy Day, and also because Cory made it seem that sharing this data “just happens,” I wanted to clarify some common misconceptions about social login: what’s shared, what isn’t, and how Janrain manages the data opt-in process for marketers in order to create better customer experiences.

Individuals have all the control

Ultimately, when it comes to social login, you have all the control. When a consumer chooses Facebook to login, all of the data passed to the site is based on that consumer opting-in.

This is really fundamentally different than how most consumer data is collected. Things like cookies and retargeting pixels are “opt-out” – they are collecting data about you unless you actively play whack-a-mole with advertisers, or install AdBlock Plus.

Social login offers the opportunity for consumers to share data about themselves—but only if they choose. And no data is shared unless the user first reviews the data that is being requested, then confirms that they want it shared.

Social networks are adding more granularity into the permission process, too. Facebook now offers line-by-line controls, so you can opt-out of specific data elements that you don’t want to share.

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Photo Credit: Facebook

If you’d like to see exactly which data Facebook and dozens of other social networks have about you, check out Janrain’s Social Profile Navigator.

Marketers must create value to expect individuals to share their data

Since social login is opt-in, why does anyone opt-in at all? Modern marketers know that they can’t just demand attention through interruptions anymore—in fact, 48% of consumers will abandon a brand with just two mistargeted communications. So, marketers work hard to create value for their customers.

When consumers see a permission screen asking for everything but the kitchen sink, they decline to continue the login process and opt for a traditional account creation. Or, they sign in with another account that shares less data by default, like Twitter. We have experimented with our clients, and have seen conversion rates decline as more data is requested.

A real relationship that grows over time

Consumers understand the privacy-value trade-off: I tell you what I like (through social login), and you offer me things I like in future interactions. If we both find the relationship beneficial, I will feel comfortable sharing more about myself over time.