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I have recently observed many sites that do not have a log out button. Either it's not there or hidden somewhere so that you have to find it. Why do you think this has been done? Does it apply to every category of site - for example a social networking site versus a banking site?

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Please provide a example site if possible. –  srcspider Feb 17 '11 at 18:32
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@srcspider: Gmail –  dotancohen Feb 2 '12 at 16:59
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@srcspider: Here at UX SE as well –  John-Philip Jun 26 '12 at 18:17
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Amazon does this as as it has two 'levels' of login: one for browsing and then another to access purchases or other more sensitive account information. –  PhillipW Dec 13 '13 at 18:59

4 Answers 4

up vote 26 down vote accepted

The original poster is talking about how many site are hiding the logout link. Facebook makes you open the account menu to see the logout link.

facebook account facebook logout

My guess is that there's really no need to log out of your account these days. Public computers are not used as much anymore, so there's no need to protect your privacy. Everyone owns their own personal laptop or computer. We even have personal cell phones with browsers. Only you have access to your personal devices, so why go through the hassle of logging out every session and typing in your long ass email / password whenever you come back? Web designers realized this and they hide rarely used features to make room for showcasing more heavily used features.

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I can think of plenty of reasons I'd want to log out of Facebook (not that it would stop them tracking me...) –  fredley Jan 6 '12 at 14:44
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It's exactly for this that facebook hides the logout button. :-) –  chumkiu Jan 15 '13 at 10:49
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Actually, staying logged in seriously increased the changes of a CSRF / confused deputy attack where you might think you're taking an action on a site but really you're clicking an action on Facebook which is in a transparent frame above what you see, for example –  Adam Lynch Apr 4 '13 at 19:14

The reason why we placed the logout button in a submenu is because it saves space. Just like on a desktop app (the quit app button is in a drop down menu) we created a "Settings" menu that allowed us to place multiple items into one section freeing up the UI for other pieces of content.

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I bet it's because sites are organizing their nav/menus based on each item's frequency of use--and users don't log out very often.

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nice, its really about usage –  sushil bharwani Jun 14 '12 at 5:36

By encouraging users to stay logged in, service providers like Google and Facebook can not only make the login experience less of a hassle, but (perhaps far less innocently) gather browsing data and habits on their users (even when they're not using the service) to enhance advertising intelligence.

And that's something that makes me wary.

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Hiding the logout buttons creates a bigger barrier to leave the facebook website. I guess its a dark pattern to keep you distracted. –  Barfieldmv Jun 13 '12 at 9:48
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Every time you visit a site that shows the facebook like button or gives you a box where you can enter facebook comments, facebook is probably tracking you and logging the fact that you visited that website. If you are not logged into facebook then they should not be doing this. –  Sarel Botha Jul 22 '12 at 16:05

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