Wednesday 15 January, 2014

How Your Friends Can Help You Recover Your Hijacked Facebook Account

How much do you trust your friends on Facebook? Would you let them get into your account if it was hacked or if you forgot your password? That’s exactly what Facebook’s Trusted Contacts feature allows you to do.

Facebook Trusted Contacts

If your account is hacked or you get locked out of your Facebook account, you can get by with a little help from your friends. Trusted Contacts allows you to choose three to five ‘trusted friends’ to help you get back in. Facebook will send these friends special codes which they can pass on to you, and then you can access your account.

Why the new feature? Trusted Contacts makes it easier to get back into your account if you’re locked out. There are no security questions to answer and potentially goof up by misspelling something or long forms you have to fill out, which is especially nice if you use Facebook on a smartphone.

The idea is to increase security but also allow you better access to your account. And it’s all done socially, of course.

How to Set up Trusted Contacts

Trusted Contacts capability is built in to your Facebook account already. Go to Security Settings and you’ll see a Trusted Contacts section. Click here and it will give you a list of your friends. You can choose three to five and it will then ask you to confirm your choices.

You can always edit your trusted friends later if one of them turns out to be a jerk or you find someone new to trust with your Facebook account.

Hacking Accounts with Trusted Friends

But how much do you trust your friends? It’s pretty easy for your trusted contacts to abuse the feature and access your account without your knowledge. They can then go on to post embarrassing updates, hit on friends of yours, and wreak havoc on your profile.

Your trusted friends can hack your account by using the code along with the ‘forgot your password’ link. They can click here and enter a name and any email address (this needs to be done on a different computer than their own or on private mode). The code will then be sent to the email address they gave and they can now access your account.

For this reason, many privacy advocates and bloggers are complaining that Trusted Contacts is just Facebook’s latest assault on your privacy, forgetting completely that the feature and in fact using Facebook at all is totally voluntary.

If you’re not sure you want to trust your friends with access to your account, you can still use the old tried and true method if you’re locked out of your account and recover your password by email. Trusted Contacts just offers an easier and more social way to do it.

Trusted Contacts was tested in 2011 and released in May 2013.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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