Learn step-by-step how to use Facebook Trusted Contacts and get to know the pros and cons using the new security feature to restore access to your account.
Many web services are already offering two-step authentication, a security method that basically integrates secondary password, typically a code, to allow users to regain access to their accounts. Companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple already offer this additional layer of security to make more difficult for a malicious individual to steal your password and subsequently get access to your account and information.
Facebook is another company that for more than a year has also been offering two-step authentication, but now the social network giant is also adding another way to protect your account from unauthorized access or to help you recover your lost password, even if you also lose access to your inbox. Facebook calls the new feature: Trusted Contacts, and it allows you to pick three to five Facebook friends to receive a secret code that you can use to get back to your account.
Trusted Contacts isn’t difficult to set up, follow the step-by-step instructions below:
1. Head over Facebook’s Security Settings page.
2. Under the Trusted Contacts section, click Choose Trusted Contacts.
3. Choose 3 to 5 friends and confirm. That is all you need to enable and configure the feature.
How to recover your account using trusted contacts: Go to Facebook and click “Forgot your password?”, type your account’s name and click Search. In the Reset Your Password page, click the “No longer have access to these?” link and follow the directions.
Now, contact all the friends you chose and ask them for their assistance. Facebook will send them a code that they can pass on to you, once you get all the codes and you have entered them in the page, click Submit Codes and you’ll be able to regain access to your account.
Pros and Cons
Although this seems like a good idea, there are pros and cons that you should consider. For example, in the Pro side of things, it is a good way to recover your password, if you forget it or somehow it gets stolen and you can’t even access your email to reset it (It’s sort of similar to giving a house key to your friends when you go on vacation — Facebook). And you don’t need to remember the security question either.
In the Con side of things however, we live in a world where trust is a luxury. As such, you also have to consider that Facebook Trusted Contacts can help you as much as it can hurt you, because you are not just adding several friends to recover your password, you are also multiplying the chances to lose access to your account. I’m talking about that friend who can convince your other friends to request the recovery codes — Yes! They can do this if they want to — and they can then gain access to your profile and change the password without your authorization, so be careful who you trust. If anything, choose unrelated friends to enable this feature in your Facebook profile.
Need to know
Even though the new security feature is available today, Facebook has previously announced it back in 2011 and the concept was under the Trusted Friends name, but it was being tested until 2012.
Once you choose your friends, they will be contacted, letting them know that you’ll need their help if you ever need to reset your password or the account gets compromised. But if you ever remove or unfriend an individual from the trusted list, they will not be notified.
After you reset your password, you’ll need to wait 24 hours before accessing to your Facebook account. This is an inconvenience, but necessary way to protect your account, the company says.