In Airbnb, I see that the user can 'sign up' with Facebook or 'sign in' with Facebook. What is the difference between sign up and sign in? Do these options actually perform different actions?

  • Hi onmyway133. It is a little unclear what you are asking. Are you asking about the actual difference between the two, or if a site should offer them both? In the case of the latter, the question has been asked many times before - here's one: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/11965/… Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 16:51
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    @EvilClosetMonkey I ask to see if it's good UX to provide both sign up and sign in, or just sign in is enough
    – onmyway133
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 16:53
  • Check the link in my previous comment - it is asking the same and has many good answers. Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 16:56
  • The tittle and the question as it is has not UX questions, it's like asking what a Quit button does. Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 17:35
  • @rewobs how users understand a common interaction is relevant to UX. But I agree that whether it's Facebook or not is less relevant.
    – JohnGB
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 18:15

2 Answers 2


When you sign up with facebook, you're essentially just creating a profile on the local site (Airbnb in this case) using data from your facebook profile. So something like name, avatar, and location.

When you sign in with facebook you're authenticating yourself using facebook.

Although the two are related, they are essentially different actions, and so in my opinion, it's the right move to separate them.

Note, that although we've used Facebook as an example, the same could apply to Twitter, GitHub, Google, etc.

  • thanks, but when I use Airbnb for example, to sign up and sign in with Facebook, I don't see any difference. What if I sign up with Facebook, then logout, then sign in with Facebook, how is that sign in related to the sign up
    – onmyway133
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 17:02
  • @onmyway133 I can see that the labelling might be confusing but these are essentially two separate actions, one option creates a profile (an account) and the second option is social login ( an account already exists). Perhaps labels should be sign-up using x to create an account vs login using x for social login.
    – Okavango
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 17:53

The risk of removing the sign up is potential user hesitation/confusion. If users only see "Sign in" -- they might think, "But I never created an account! Where do I sign up?!"

That said, I think it would be really interesting to do think-aloud usability testing and see how many people actually have an issue with only seeing a "sign in". My gut feeling is that not many people would. (Plus, the system on the backend would just be able to determine if it's a first time user and treat them appropriately.)

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