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Facebook adds security enhancements amid privacy concerns

May 13, 2010 |  2:30 pm

Facebook has added two new security features aimed at keeping personal information safe.

The social network's users will now find an option in their account settings tab, called Account Security. That option, if enabled, will send users notifications via e-mail and, if desired, SMS, whenever their accounts are accessed on a computer or mobile product other than the device they're logged into.

Account settings

"To help keep your Facebook account as safe as possible, we can notify you when your account is accessed from a computer or mobile device that you haven't used before," the option reads. "Would you like to receive notifications for logins from new devices?"

Facebook will also start requiring users to input more authorization besides a password whenever it feels suspicious activity is occurring with an account. The first step of that process will require users to verify they're human and not a bot, by typing the letters found in a scrambled CAPTCHA image. From there, they will be asked a personal question, such as their birth date. They might also be asked to identify a friend in a personal image.

Facebook's decision to improve login security comes amid increased pressure from critics over the way the company has handled user privacy.

Last month, a bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, urging the social network to change policy and get user approval before sharing profile information with third-party partners, like Pandora or any other site that allows users to log in with their Facebook credentials.

That letter was sent just days before a bug caused users' personal chat conversations to be shared with others on the social network. That bug has been patched.

Unfortunately for Facebook, patching that bug isn't nearly enough to satisfy critics. Privacy is becoming an increasingly troubling issue for the social network. And with over 400 million active users sharing inordinate amounts of private information each day, it's getting worse by the day.

--Don Reisinger

twitter.com/donreisinger

Image: Facebook's new privacy setting option. Credit: Facebook

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