Facebook Adds Password Recovery Via ‘Trusted Friends’ Option
I have no idea how long this option has existed within Facebook. All I know is that I completely randomly found it earlier today when I was going through some security features in Facebook.* What I found was very much akin – in my mind – to the post I wrote a little while back about setting a friend’s email address as your recovery email address and likening it to a spare house key. (See: “Is Your Recovery Email Address The Spare House Key You Leave With A Friend?”)
*In case you don’t know how to get to these pages they are the Facebook Account Settings page and the Facebook Security Settings page and both of those are direct links which should take you to them if you are logged in to Facebook in your browser already.
Basically, Facebook has started an option to choose 5 Facebook friends who you consider ‘Trusted Friends’ and if you ever have issues getting into your account and can’t access your recovery email address, for whatever reason, Facebook will send each of your trusted friends a security code. Then, all you need to do is get in touch with your friends and collect the codes. In order to set the whole thing up you have to choose between 3 to 5 Trusted Friends, although Facebook recommends choosing the full 5. Once you need to recover your password Facebook will, I assume, email/message all 5 of your Trusted Friends a code. You only need to get 3 out of the 5 codes sent to your various Trusted Friends in order to get access to your account back. A full description of the service is available on the “Opt-in Security Features” area in the “Facebook Help Center”.
I, of course, decided to opt right in as soon as I saw this option and set it up immediately. My main question is why hasn’t Facebook been pushing users to set this up as soon as they logged in to Facebook the day it was implemented? I can’t even find any mention of the option on the Facebook Blog even though I did a very specific search for “trusted friends” and also manually went through a a few pages of blog posts which took me all the way back to October 14, 2010.
When you first go to edit the Trusted Friends list, Facebook immediately prompts you to re-enter your account password. Good move! I like this over cautiousness and extra layer of security! Remember, this security was in place even though I never had set up the “Trusted Friends” feature before. A great move because this means even if someone left their account open and walked away from their computer while Facebook was still logged in, no one could change this setting (or set it up for the first time).
Then it came time to Choose Trusted Friends who I would use as my keepers of my “digital spare house keys.” This is where I think Facebook sort of fell short on all they could have and should done with this process and here’s why:
- If you look at the image below where I was choosing my 3-5 Trusted Friends I have an option to sift through them by using a list of ‘All Friends’ or who Facebook defines as my ‘Top Friends.’ I was amazed that Facebook did not include as an option to clean up the selection screen to only view people listed as my ‘Family Members’ by groups I’m in, or by any of the other lists that I have created for myself or that Facebook has recently generated of its own accord. It just seems as if that would make the most sense and those lists/categories already exist anyway.
- Facebook doesn’t, as far as I can tell, notify your Trusted Friends of their new elevated status. Maybe this is because they don’t want you to have to explain to your friend if/when you remove them from the list of 5?
End of the day, although I think there are some kinks to be worked out within the selection process – I.E. make it easier to choose friends aside from typing in their names or who Facebook ranks as a ‘Top Friend.’ (Note of Random: Every time I read the words “Top Friends” I think of the’Raiders of the Lost Ark’ Top Men scene and when Family Guy spoofed it.)
Therefore, I wholeheartedly give this feature a huge thumbs up and would hit the Like button on it if I could. Because I can’t do that, though, the image below will have to suffice!
Do you use this feature? Do you know long it’s been around for? Let me know in the Comments.
Facebook “Like Button” image via http://techliberation.com/
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