Meta has announced that its Facebook Protect security program for high-profile accounts is expanding to more users. These are for accounts that are more likely to be targeted by hackers, like for journalists, government officials, and human rights defenders. As part of this expansion, they will be requiring certain people and organizations to enable two-factor authentication in order to protect their accounts. And if they do not enable it before a certain number of days, they will be locked out of their accounts.
Facebook Protect has been enabled on more than 1.5 million accounts since they first tested it back in 2018. They are now expanding it to more than 50 countries by the end of 2021 including the United States, India, and Portugal. Users will not apply for it but will receive a notification from Facebook that they are eligible to enroll in the program. Part of the program is two-factor authentication although they were not really clear about what are the other benefits of enrolling in it, except that you supposedly get extra protection from hackers and malicious parties.
Some of these high-profile accounts are now receiving notifications that they are required to turn on Facebook Protect and consequently two-factor authentication. More importantly, if you don’t turn it on within 15 days or by December 17, you will be locked out of your account until you turn it on. It’s not clear if the deadline is the same for all the users that will be notified or if the 15 day-deadline begins once you are informed by Facebook that you should be part of the program.
UPDATE: Facebook confirms high profile accounts must enable 2FA OR it will lock them out of their accounts https://t.co/JVVjHSiUl7
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) December 2, 2021
Facebook says that 2FA is something that everyone should enable and it is a highly underutilized security tool. This should be enabled especially by those that may be targeted because of their job or their lifestyle, like journalists, activists, government officials, etc. Facebook Protect makes the process easier and based on their early tests, the adoption rate for 2FA increased once they were enrolled here.
If you receive the notification from Facebook, it would be good to heed their “request” that you protect your account with 2FA. Actually, even if you’re not a high-profile account, it wouldn’t hurt to turn it on as well.