Here's How Facebook Intends To Bolster Account Security In The New Year

Facebook is approaching 3 billion monthly active users (up from 2 billion in 2017), which is more than the combined population of China (~1.4 billion), the United States (~331 million), and the United Kingdom (~68 billion), to put that figure into perspective. Its massive footprint in the social media space underscores why topics like privacy and security are so important. As it pertains to the latter, Facebook has a few things planned to make its platform more secure in 2021.

The importance of account security extend far beyond the inconvenience of having someone breach your account, only to have you reset your password to lock them out. We now live in an era where fake news can have real world implications on a large scale, particularly as it relates to elections around the world. And unfortunately, Facebook's track record has been bumpy—just over a year ago, it exposed over 400 million personal phone numbers and Facebook IDs. At least 133 million of those were based in the US.

So, what's on tap to make Facebook a more secure platform in 2021? One of the things Mark Zuckerberg and the gang intend on doing is adding mobile support for security tokens for users who want an added layer of protection, the company's security policy boss Nathaniel Gleicher told Axios. But that is not all Facebook plans on doing.

The social network will also open up its Facebook Protect program to types of users, such as journalists, human rights advocates, celebrities, and users who live in countries where an upcoming major election is about to take place. At present, the Facebook Protect program is solely focused on political and government officials.

"Accounts that face additional threats during an election cycle may need additional protection, so we are introducing a program called Facebook Protect, which offers candidates, elected officials, federal and state departments and agencies, and party committees, as well as their staff, a way to further secure their Facebook and Instagram accounts," Facebook explains.

Facebook Protect offers users things like two-factor authentication to make their account logins more secure, and the program also includes account monitoring for potential hacking threats. Of course, you can manually enable two-factor authentication on your own account, if you wish, by heading to Security and Login Settings, then scrolling down to Use two-factor authentication and clicking on Edit.

As we head into 2021, Gleicher would like to see high-profile account holders take advantage of both security tokens and the Facebook Protect program.

"Bad actors are trying to target social media assets of prominent voices. Just because you're not a CEO or a political candidate doesn't mean you're not a prominent person in your field and a target," Gleicher explains.

Finally, Facebook also intends to be more outspoken about security threats, by making more disclosures to the public in 2021. What effect all this has on Facebook as a whole, especially as it relates to false news items, remains to be seen.