Redesigned: Facebook Logout Button

A more accurate version of Facebook’s logout button.

At the very least, interfaces should not lie. They should not deceive the people who use them into thinking something is true when it actually isn’t.

Apparently, Facebook does not agree. On Sunday Nic Cubrilovic posted some troubling news: Logging out of Facebook is not Enough. Facebook doesn’t actually log you out when you ask it to. They pretend to, but they don’t. Instead, they simply change the status of your logged in session to fool you into thinking you’re logged out.

You don’t see your friends or profile. You don’t view your feed. Even if you try to access your profile pages, Facebook will send you to the login screen. Except that you’re not actually logged out. Every step of the way Facebook knows that it’s you trying to access those pages.

So, I’ve designed a more appropriate Facebook logout button…instead of saying “Logout” it now says “Logout (not really)”. This is more accurate and better reflects what’s actually going on.

As an interface designer myself, I know that words matter. I believe that a lot of interface design is in fact copywriting. So when I see Facebook knowingly betray their user’s trust like this it goes against the first rule of interface design:

Clarity above all.

At the very least, interfaces should be clear. People should understand what is going on and what effect their actions are having. In this case people when people click “Logout” they think they’re actually logging out of Facebook, and they think that means their actions are not being recorded, and they are trusting the service to do what it says it’s doing.

In case you’re wondering of my Facebook status, I deleted my Facebook account last year because of the continued pattern of bad behavior from the company…and no I’m not 100% certain the account was actually deleted.

So I hope the designers at Facebook might reconsider the design of their logout mechanism. I provide this button design free of charge.

Update: L.A. Times thinks the button is a good idea, too.

Published: September 27th, 2011