Facebook mandates better protection for politicians and activists

MENLO PARK (dpa-AFX) – Facebook (Meta Platforms (ex Facebook)) wants to force accounts that are particularly the focus of hackers to take stronger protective measures. Two-factor authentication, which requires a freshly generated numerical code to log on to a device for the first time, should become mandatory for them. The measures should apply to accounts of human rights activists, government representatives or journalists, announced the Facebook group Meta on Thursday.

The protection program called “Facebook Protect” was initially applied selectively – for example in Germany in the run-up to this year’s general election. More than 1.5 million accounts have activated Facebook Protect since September, it said. Of these, 950,000 would have switched on two-factor authentication again – while the method is generally recommended by experts for everyone.

In total, as of November this year, only four percent of users worldwide had their accounts protected with two-factor authentication, said Facebook manager Nathaniel Gleicher.

For users in the Protect program, the automated protection against cyber attacks is also reinforced, for example against attempts to gain access to their profiles. In addition, they are marked in the internal systems of the online network, so that the Facebook security teams know when problems are reported that the accounts are particularly vulnerable.

By the end of the year, Facebook wants to expand the program to more than 50 countries and introduce it to all threatened accounts worldwide in the coming months. Affected users are contacted by Facebook and do not have to do anything beforehand, emphasized the company. Among the previous users in the Protect program, 90 percent would have activated two-factor authentication. For the remaining ten percent, a transition period will initially apply in which they can continue to use the accounts. / So / DP / ngu

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