Meta, Facebook’s parent company, accidentally scared a number of users recently by sending an email telling users to sign up for “Facebook Protect.” How?
The problem was threefold:
- Meta didn’t adequately announce the program before sending the emails.
- Users thought it looked like a phishing email.
- Meta also locked some users out of their accounts to force them to sign up for Facebook Protect, which was misinterpreted as their account having been hacked.
So, to say that Facebook Protect had an inauspicious debut is an understatement. Let’s dig into the new Facebook feature and clear up the misconceptions.
What Is Facebook Protect?
“Facebook Protect” is a program set up by Meta to provide extra security for users. It was originally set up for political candidates, elected officials, and their staffs to provide an extra layer of security to deter both hackers and those trying to impersonate them.
However, with the increased Russian cyberattacks related to both the war in Ukraine and the U.S. 2022 elections… Meta decided to expand the program for users with a high follower count, those who manage Pages, and those with a lot of community influence. It was the roll-out to this expanded group that led to the confusion.
Despite the fancy name, essentially Facebook Protect is a program to force users in the above mentioned categories to implement Two-Factor Authentication – also known as 2FA – on their accounts. Facebook Protect also scans the user’s account for security vulnerabilities and advises the user on how to address those issues.
Two-Factor Authentication is a way of logging in that uses two steps or authentication factors. For example, a code may be sent to the email address or phone number on file for the account… which then must be submitted during login. Another method is to use a third-party authentication program to generate a similar code.
Is Facebook Protect Legit?
Yes, Facebook Protect is a legitimate program from Meta. However – because of how the wider roll-out was handled – many people thought it was a phishing email, ignored it, and then were locked out of their account because they missed the Facebook Protect deadline.
How can you tell that Facebook Protect (or another such email) is legitimate? First, look for an announcement by Meta about the topic. You can also check Facebook Help for further information on the topic… though sometimes Facebook can be slow to update the Help section.
Second, check the email address. The email address email@example.com is a legitimate email used by Meta for such announcements. However, be sure to check for email spoofing. That’s when an email appears to come from one address but (when you check more closely) it goes to a completely different email address.
Third, it’s wise to avoid clicking links in emails if you have any questions about the legitimacy of the email. In this case, instead of clicking the link in the email a person could go to the “Settings & Privacy” section of their account when logged in via a web browser and access Facebook Protect that way.
Facebook also has a method to verify emails are actually from the company. Also note that Facebook will never ask for your password in an email.
Do I Need Facebook Protect?
If you fit one of the above categories then yes, you should use Facebook Protect whether you’ve gotten an email yet or not. The program is rolling out in waves so while a March 17 Facebook Protect deadline got a lot of attention not everyone has been contacted yet.
If you manage a Facebook Page, it’s also wise to sign up for Facebook Protect. Eventually, Facebook would like everyone to use Two-Factor Authentication for improved security.
How Do You Turn on Facebook Protect?
Because it’s rolling out gradually, not everyone has access to Facebook Protect yet. If you do, you’ll find it by following these steps:
- Log into your Facebook account through a web browser.
- Click on the triangle icon at the upper right corner.
- Click “Settings & Privacy”.
- Click “Settings.”
- Click “Security and Login”
- If “Facebook Protect” is listed, click “Get Started” and follow the instructions on the screen.
Is Facebook Protect Working?
Meta hasn’t released any statistics on the effectiveness of Facebook Protect. However, enhanced security procedures are wise, especially considering widespread fraudulent activity.
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