Facebook's New Privacy Feature: What You Need to Know

How secure is your Facebook account? A new security feature called "Account Protection" clues you in.

Facebook, still pushing out privacy and security updates, is testing yet another feature that informs users on how secure their account is. Facebook recently added one-time passwords and remote sign-out to crack down on hackers, and also launched a new feature that gives you a detailed overview of the data permissions you've granted to applications.

Facebook's new feature, called Account Protection, is a set of actions you can take to shore up security. It features a bar graph that assigns your privacy and security settings with an overall protection rating, beginning with "very low" and progressing to a "high" account control level.

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Account Protection is displayed in two locations on Facebook: first on your News Feed page in the sidebar (if your privacy settings are particularly low) and also at the bottom of the Update Your Security Information page, which can be found here at the bottom. Because Facebook is testing this feature, not all accounts have access to it yet.

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The account protection status bar can be a useful tool if you're new to Facebook, if you're curious about how well you've utilized your privacy settings or if you're looking to beef up your page's security.

Clicking on "Increase protection" will send you to a page where you can update your security information. The status bar will fill as you complete security prompts such as confirming a second e-mail address and adding a mobile number.

[Want more tips, tricks and details on Facebook privacy? Check out CIO.com's Facebook Bible.]

Perhaps the most notable feature to Account Protection is the new security questions. Rather than the usual ambiguous questions such as, "What's your favorite book?" Facebook has a set of six pointed questions ranging from, "What street did you live on when you were 8 years old?" to "What are the last five characters of your driver's license?" (Hopefully we all can remember where we lived when we were 8 years old.)

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Aside from functioning as another metric to gauge your profile's security, the addition of Account Protection (and the requesting of an alternate e-mail address and mobile number) is likely to aid Facebook users whose accounts have been hacked, infected with a virus or have been locked out of their account.

Overall, Account Protection appears to be a useful addition to Facebook's privacy set. Will you check it out?

Kristin Burnham covers Consumer Technology, SaaS, Social Networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Kristin at kburnham@cio.com.

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