Facebook has announced a new security initiative that includes partnerships with well-known security companies and an anti-virus marketplace where Facebook users can download free anti-virus software. The announcement came as a note on the Facebook Security Facebook page.
The companies that Facebook has partnered with are Microsoft, McAfee, TrendMicro, Sophos, and Symantec. Facebook will incorporate the malicious URL databases from these companies into their own URL blacklist system, which is in place to prevent spam and malicious content links on Facebook.
Facebook has also introduced the new Facebook Anti-Virus Marketplace that allows Facebook users to download free anti-virus software from each of the companies. Though the downloads are full versions of the software, users only receive a six-month license to use it.
A six-month license means this initiative seems more like an advertising partnership with these companies than a selfless giveaway for users' protection. Things especially begin to smell of an ad campaign when you realize the company whose software you've chosen must be "liked" by you on Facebook to start the download. It's also odd that Microsoft Security Essentials, which is already free for Windows users, is in the marketplace alongside Norton AntiVirus and McAfee.
The partner companies will also be promoting security safety (and presumably their products) on the Facebook Security Blog. From the blog:
Additionally, we are excited to welcome these companies to the Facebook Security Blog, where they will provide important educational materials to help those who use our site keep themselves, and their data, safe. Remember to Like the Security Page to make sure you receive these updates.
What do you think? Is Facebook sincerely helping users avoid infections and malware? Should Facebook be promoting free alternatives instead of trials for these anti-virus options? Leave a comment below and let me know.