Let's say you login on a web shop using a facebook connect button.

Do you think it is good practice for the site to retrieve your profile pic and display it just by your login name?

I wonder if it will be perceived as intrusive or to the contrary will this increase the level of trust (showing the customer that she is properly logged in) ?


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    The general feeling will most probably be possible, however there will be users who find it, say, intrusive. Adding it is to take a small risk, however the positives will most probably outweigh the negatives, at least that's my two cents in the matter. :-) Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 13:19
  • I think (not totally sure) that Windows 8 does this for your user account profile picture (i.e when you log in to the computer) if you have connected Windows to Facebook. Can anyone confirm? Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 13:38
  • @AndroidHustle : I think you're right, the positives outweigh the negatives in this case.
    – teebot
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 16:11

3 Answers 3


If you are only going to show it to them, then it is fine to show it. If someone has signed up with a facebook account, they would have already agreed to allow you to see their profile pic.

If you are going to make it publicly viewable, then it is not okay to do it unless you get explicit permission from them first. You could by default not show it and have an option in your settings to "Use my facebook profile pic as my profile on this site".

  • The picture will indeed only be shown to them. As JamesD and KevingG seems to agree as well, it would be more appropriate to ask for a permission and provide a way to change the avatar if that picture was to be shown to other members. Since it's not the case here, I guess the PRO soutweighs the CONs.
    – teebot
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 16:07

You have to ensure that users feel in control of their profiles on your site, regardless if they use Facebook to sign in or not.

Whenever you are deciding on displaying a profile image, consider the appropriateness of the situation. For this application, is the profile image going to be seen by other users? Some users may not want their Facebook picture made public. If the profile picture is going to be used in a way that is visible to other users (say in comments, reviews, or message boards), then users should be able to change their profile pic.

Facebook profile pics can be used as a replacement for the default avatar image, but make sure users are aware of how their profile pic will be used and steps they can take to change it if they want to.

  • Interesting that should phrase it as ensure that users feel in control of their profiles, not that they actually are in control of their profile. Commented May 5, 2014 at 11:56

Something I have noticed with Facebook logins: the more permissions you ask for the less people will use it. A permissions access box with 5 items is more likely to be aborted than one with 2 items. Also you already mentioned the risk of users feeling the site is intruding on their privacy by showing a picture

So the question then becomes, is the benefit of showing a picture greater than the risks that come with it. The risks are stated above, so what about the benefits? "showing the customer that she is properly logged in", If this is the benefit we are trying to go after I think a clear "you are logged in" state is all that is needed. In fact I would not even show a name necessarily because that could be considered a privacy violation. Showing it raises all sorts of other questions for the user too: Who else can see this photo? is my name tied to what I am buying? how do I change this information? what other information did you pull from my profile?

In other words if the simple goal is just to confirm that the user is logged in there are methods that carry a lot less risk than showing a real name and real photo. Usually the benefit of showing a photo is when that photo will be used for a functionality on the website (think public user profile, social site, dating site, ect).

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