I'm creating an e-commerce website using Facebook as an alternative to create account/login process. Since it's an e-commerce website it's important for us to have users' e-mail to send updates about orders, payments, etc...

However, Facebook login flow, allows users to deny e-mail access, and this is where I'm kind of stuck, because I have no idea on how to deal with this situation. This is what I was thinking:

Model 1

  • User connects with Facebook;
  • Denies e-mail access;
  • The website shows an alert box telling user why the e-mail is important and asks to use his e-mail, or just continue;
  • If user wants to use e-mail, the Facebook login box will show up again;

This method has big cons on mobile: transitioning between multiple screens and dialog boxes which could be very annoying.

Model 2

  • User connects with Facebook;
  • Denies e-mail access;
  • Can't proceed with any shop until insert an e-mail (using the Facebook to get his e-mail);

I'm really struggling with this situation because it's an important information, without user's e-mail, there is no clear way to send notifications, but on the other hand, to deny an e-mail access can't be done by 'accident', users need to do it very deliberating.

I'm also thinking about just showing an alert message on his account page, telling the cons about not having an e-mail associated with his account and let him decide what to do.

2 Answers 2


While your proposed flow is sound and pretty common, you're leaving out of the table a very important fact: many people used an email just to sign with Facebook and they never check it out. This is done by a variety of reasons, specially on younger demographics. So even if you get a valid email address, your notifications will reach a "void": nobody will see them.

However, in your question you mention another approach:

I'm also thinking about just showing an alert message on his account page, telling the cons about not having an e-mail associated with his account and let him decide what to do.


Now your user is in control, they will know they will lose something if they don't fill the email field, and therefore, you'll have real mails that you know will be checked from time to time.

But let's not stop there. In mobile age, you have more accurate ways to contact your users. WhatsApp and SMS are more reliable contact methods than Facebook for mobile. Android users will need to have a Gmail account, iOS asks for a mail account to associate your info (probably a gMail one), Twitter will require a Microsoft account. So, as you can see, you're limiting yourself to a method when it isn't even the safest way and your users will have other contact methods

Just in case: do NOT confuse Facebook's domination in the social login market share with ways to contact people. Again: your users may log with FB and never check the mail (disclaimer: I never do. Same for anyone in my family), or signup with a phone number. However, most of them will check their WhatsApp, or SMS, or a mail that they provided for this purpose

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    I really liked the way you expanded the question with extra important topics! Also, those links were very helpful. I will follow your advice on this one. Thanks! Oct 24, 2016 at 10:20

From Facebooks docs:

Note, even if you request the email permission it is not guaranteed you will get an email address. For example, if someone signed up for Facebook with a phone number instead of an email address, the email field may be empty.

So even if you get the permission you will still need to check and maybe request and email down the road.

As a user I take exactly the opposite view from yours:

It is not important for you to have my email address unless :

  1. I explicitly give it to you and know beforehand what you are sending.
  2. You absolutely need it to conduct business, receipts, notices etc.

So it would go something like this:

  • Sign up with Facebook, decline email permissions...Nothing happens.

  • Do something that requires email... Check Facebook/existing email, prompt confirm/correct information > go ahead or not.

  • For other communications I would explicitly request the user signup and specify rate and nature.

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