WASHINGTON — Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has expanded their "Facebook Protect" program, an extra layer of cybersecurity for accounts they deem more likely to be targeted by bad actors or hackers. Facebook appears to have expanded the program widely on March 1, prompting a lot of confusion about the email which, frankly, looks like a textbook phishing scam.
But this security program is legit, and Facebook says if they reached out to you and you don't enroll, you'll be locked out of your account.
Facebook has identified certain people as likely targets for cybersecurity breaches, like public officials, journalists and human rights defenders, who need extra layers of protection. Global expansion of the program was announced in Dec 2021. Although it's intended for high-risk accounts, anyone can join the program.
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A form of Facebook Protect was first tested in 2018 and was launched ahead of the 2020 U.S. election to "further secure the accounts of elected officials, candidates, their staff and others who may be particularly vulnerable to targeting by hackers and foreign adversaries." Back then, it was entirely voluntary.
Enrolling first requires you to set up two-factor authentication, one of the easiest and best ways to secure any online account. This is available for all Facebook and Instagram users.
In a December Twitter thread, Meta's Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher explained, "Facebook Protect provides increased automated defenses and flags participating accounts internally so our security teams know if a member of these communities is targeted."