Don’t be surprised if you see a drop-off in "John Doe is the worst boyfriend ever"-style status updates on Facebook starting this week. Facebook has introduced two measures designed to make sure no one other than an account’s rightful owner is able to take control of it.
The first feature is the logically named "Login Notification." Users just have to introduce Facebook to whatever devices they use to access the site – say a home computer, a work computer, and a mobile phone – and then Facebook can email an account’s owner when a different device is brought into the mix. Facebook will even text people, as well.
Then there’s one extra step to make sure people don’t receive the notification too late. A post on the Facebook Blog explained, "When we see that someone is trying to access your account from an unusual device, we’ll ask the person to answer an additional verification question to prove his or her identity as the real account owner. For example, we might ask the person to enter a birth date, identify a friend in a photo or answer a security question if you’ve previously provided one."
Clever, right? Facebook isn’t going to force its users to jump through hoops, either, leaving these features optional. In fact, you’ll have to look for the "Account Security" link on the "Account Settings" page if you feel like taking advantage of them.
Of course, even though these security measures (and that freedom of choice) may be much appreciated, it’s hard to forget that many people remain quite concerned that Facebook’s opt-out privacy settings may cause their personal info to be shared, anyway.