Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2018/ 'Remember Me' Considered Harmful

'Remember Me' Considered Harmful

Because I am a civilized human being who uses a password manager, I never ever want any password to remember my login information. If and when I use a website, I want to log in explicitly and then log out again. Unfortunately, websites want to be "helpful" (read: "conduct surveillance on me all the time") so they have handy "Remember Me" checkboxes that are ALWAYS checked by default. This means I have to explicitly uncheck the boxes each and every time I log in (or trust that my browser's private browsing mode will kill the login cookies, which I don't).

This is bad user interface design. Somebody who wants to be logged in permanently only needs to worry about the tickybox once. Civilized people have to worry about the tickybox every time they log in.

Of course, the website companies care about usability much less than they care about surveillane and maintaining our attention. If even one user gives up on their website because they need to log in twice, then that is a big loss for them. So I expect this will only get worse as time goes on.

An extreme example of this is Facebook. Because Facebook has now decided it is the Internet, some Facebook pages are accessible publicly. But if you scroll down on a Facebook page without logging in, you get a full-page modal telling you to sign up for Facebook. If you dismiss this (with their optimistic link "Not Now") then you lose a third of your browser real estate, because Facebook "helpfully" hides a third of your screen with a "Sign up for Facebook" sign that you cannot easily dismiss. This is an awful user experience, and I hate it. But Facebook does not care. I am worth less to them if I do not consent to them psychologically profiling me.