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Summary:

Facebook on Thursday morning unveiled new features aimed at making people feel more secure on the ever-growing social networking site, including “Trusted Friends” and “App Passwords.” These are just the latest in a series of major privacy changes Facebook has announced in recent months.

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Updated. Facebook on Thursday morning unveiled new features aimed at making people feel more secure on the ever-growing social networking site. The two major updates are:

  • Trusted Friends: This is a “phone a friend” type feature that lets you designate three to five people who can help you in the event that you are somehow locked out of your Facebook account. If your account somehow becomes inaccessible to you, Facebook will send codes to each of your “Trusted Friends.” You’ll be able to log back into your account after your designated friends have passed those codes along to you.
  • App Passwords:This gives users the option to set additional unique passwords on Facebook apps. So if you have an app password added to, say, FarmVille, even if someone else is logged in to your Facebook account, they’ll need to know an additional password before they plant a field full of cupcakes. Update: Reader Jörn wrote a good explanation of another benefit from App Passwords in the comment section:

    “Generating an App Password gives you an additional password that you can use to access your account, which you can then use when signing into your account from a not-necessarily-trustworthy third-party, like a service or Facebook client, so you don’t need to give them your main Facebook password. If you want to disable that particular third-party’s access to your Facebook account in the future, you can revoke the individual password you’ve generated for them, so you don’t need to change your main account password.”

These are just the latest in a series of major privacy changes Facebook has announced in recent months. It all makes sense in light of the social network’s new Timeline interface, which in many ways makes it easier for others to look through individuals’ activity on the site.

I think the privacy and security updates are great — and the company should keep them coming! — but a lot of people are understandably confused with all the new features. So Facebook has made a handy new infographic to help explain all the new stuff, which is embedded below:

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  1. That’s actually not a good explanation of App Passwords. Generating an App Password gives you an additional password that you can use to access your account, which you can then use when signing into your account from a not-necessarily-trustworthy third-party, like a service or Facebook client, so you don’t need to give them your main Facebook password. If you want to disable that particular third-party’s access to your Facebook account in the future, you can revoke the individual password you’ve generated for them, so you don’t need to change your main account password.

    Google Accounts offer both of these options as well.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Jörn — that’s a great explanation of the new feature.

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