facebook protect: Explained: What is Facebook Protect and why is it important – Times of India

The Facebook Protect programme was first tested in the US in 2018 and later it was expanded widely during the US 2020 presidential elections. This programme is designed to protect user accounts that are at high risk of cyberattacks. These account users usually fall under small groups like — journalists, human rights defenders, activists and even government officials. Facebook Protect is now available in India and Facebook plans to release this feature to 50 countries.
How does Facebook Protect work?
This feature when activated makes it compulsory for the accounts to use two-factor authentication (2FA) and enables additional automated defences for protection. Users who come under these small groups will usually find a notification from the social media platform to activate the Facebook Protect feature. Steps like mandatory 2FA and monitoring the account for additional security aims to protect these accounts against cyberattacks.
Facebook sends notifications to enable the Facebook Protect feature when you open the app. It does not ask for any account details and only asks you to turn on 2FA (if not done already) along with enabling Facebook Protect.
How to get Facebook Protect?
This feature has recently been introduced in India and it might take some time before most people find the notification to enable it. Facebook is soon going to have a process that will allow users to register if they don’t get the notification. The company has revealed that there is a combination of multiple factors that decides the list of accounts that are at risk. The network depends on experts around the world who can identify prominent critical voices.
Currently, there are no ways for accounts to get the Facebook Protect feature if it doesn’t belong to a journalist, a human rights defender or an activist. The company has not revealed if Facebook Protect will be rolled out to other accounts. Although, the 2FA feature can be used by anyone to increase overall security.
What makes it an important security feature?
Facebook states that this feature remains underutilised as only 4 per cent of all users on the messaging platform have 2FA turned on. 2FA is a security feature that allows access to a particular Facebook account from a new device only with a login code. These login codes come either via SMS or from a third-party authenticator app such as Google Authenticator.
The 2FA feature can be an important defence mechanism for all accounts. Even if hackers somehow get the password to your account, they won’t get access until they get the code or the one-time password. The company has revealed that so far more than 1.5 million accounts that are at high risk have activated this feature and out of them only around 950,000 accounts have newly activated the 2FA feature.
What happens if this feature is not activated?
Facebook has made this feature compulsory for every user account that gets notified by the company and that account is deemed as high-risk. These user accounts have to turn on the 2FA for the Facebook account if it is not done already.
Users will also be provided with a deadline to accept the notification. If you do not accept the notification within the given deadline, your account will be locked. The company also states that no account data will be lost if the account gets locked. Users will be able to get back their account’s access by turning on Facebook Protect and 2FA.

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