Facebook Thursday said it’s making available globally a feature called "Trusted Contacts" that lets users select three to five friends who can help users recover account access such as if they forget their password.
Facebook said the idea is that once these friends are identified as “trusted contacts” through the user’s security settings, Facebook will provide each of them with a special code.
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“Enter the codes from [at least 3 of] your trusted contacts, and you’ll be able to access your account,” Facebook says. “After you set your trusted contacts, we’ll notify them so that they can be ready to help you if you ever need it.”
Facebook compared the system to leaving a spare key to your house with trusted people.
“With Trusted Contacts, there’s no need to worry about remembering the answer to your security question or filling out long web forms to prove who you are. Your friends can help you recover your account,” Facebook says. “Choose people you can reach without using Facebook, ideally over the phone or in person, since you’ll need to contact them when you can’t log in.”
Facebook says the new security service represents an update and improvement on an older service, “Trusted Friends.”
Facebook, like other prominent social networking sites, is constantly looking to make its services more secure in the face of attacks.
Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.