Huffpost Technology
Bianca Bosker Headshot

Facebook's 2 New Security Tools: 'Guardian Angels' And App Passwords

Posted: Updated:

Facebook is introducing two new security features that will allow users to create passwords for third-party applications and to turn to their friends in case they have trouble accessing their accounts.

Facebook has promised its forthcoming "Trusted Friends" tool would provide users with "guardian angels": friends who have the power to help friends unlock their profiles.

To enable the feature, a user selects three to five friends to whom Facebook will send a code in the event that the individual has trouble logging into Facebook. For example, if a member forgets her password but can't recover it via email, Facebook would send the "trusted" friends a code that she can use to access her account.

"It's sort of similar to giving a house key to your friends when you go on vacation -- pick the friends you most trust in case you need their help in the future," Facebook wrote in a blog post.

Facebook will be testing the feature over the next few weeks, and it remains to be seen what protections Facebook will put in place to prevent the "guardian angels" from gaining access to a friend's account without his or her permission.

The second security tool makes it possible to create a unique password for certain third-party applications.

For all of its emphasis on creating policies that are "easy to understand, even when the concepts are complicated," Facebook's explanation of this safety tool fails to clearly address why a user would want to enable app passwords.

"[I]n some cases you may want to have a unique password for that application," wrote Facebook. "This is especially helpful if you have opted into Login Approvals, for which security codes don't always work when using 3rd party applications."

To enable the feature, go to "Security" under "Account Settings," then navigate to the "App Passwords" tab, where a password that Facebook promises "you won't need to remember" can be created for an application. Users would then provide this password together with their email addresses when logging into that app.

Facebook has also released an infographic that highlights some of the security features and practices the site has in place, such as monitoring applications for suspicious behavior or checking all uploaded photos against a government list of "exploitative images."

The infographic (below) lists several statistics about Facebook's security team, noting that the company has 300 full-time employees who focus on improving the site's safety features and that it spends "over tens of millions of dollars" on security infrastructure.

Facebook also wrote that it temporarily locks between 250,000 and 600,000 accounts each day to safeguard "the integrity of the site."

Around the Web

Facebook Security - Best Practices For Protecting Yourself On ...

Five hidden dangers of Facebook (Q&A) | Security - CNET News

How to Keep Your Facebook Secure (by Enabling HTTPS)

Manage Facebook's privacy, security settings - TODAY Tech ...

Irish Security Experts Begin Probe of Facebook's Files

Inside Facebook's massive cyber-security system

Facebook video games are stupid, anyway

From Our Partners