The Washington Post

Facebook rolls out new security features, answers Sophos letter

Facebook announced new security and privacy features for its site Tuesday. The site has added more resources for its Family Safety Center and a more complete rollout of its social reporting tool, which lets users report bad behavior to Facebook friends they trust.

(Post Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Donald E. Graham sits on Facebook’s board of directors, and the newspaper and many Post staffers use Facebook for marketing purposes.)

The social network also introduced two security measures: two-step authentication and expanded secure browsing.

Two-factor authentication, similar to what Google rolled out in February, gives users the option to have to enter a code when they log in. A key difference:Google’s two-factor authentication stays on all the time, Facebook’s is on only when you log in from a new device.

Facebook is also offering expanded secure browsing for those who have selected that option. Now, whenever you use a Facebook app that doesn’t support HTTPS, the site will automatically switch you back to secure browsing when your session’s done.

Secure browsing is one of the issues security firm Sophos raised in an open letter to Facebook that called for the social network to improve its security. The firm also called for new features to be opt-in by default and for more review of third-party apps.

Facebook responded to the letter today with a statement reminding users of the control they have over their own privacy options:

We’re committed to giving everyone the power to control and personalize their Facebook experience. People on Facebook choose where and with whom their information is shared from their privacy settings page, or more granularly through per-object-privacy or specific permissions when using apps. We’re focused on continuing to evolve our products and technologies in a way that respects the trust people have put into Facebook.

The social network does conduct reviews for third-party apps, based on how many users they have or how many pieces of data they share and has automated systems to catch and remove bad apps.

Related stories:

Security firm calls on Facebook to step up its game

Facebook offering site-wide 'HTTPS' security

Google adds optional two-step Gmail security

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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