Meta (formerly Facebook) earlier this week announced that it is expanding its Facebook Protect security programme to users – journalists and government officials – who are likely to be  targeted by hackers. The social media giant plans to roll out the programme to nearly 50 countries, including India, by the end of 2021.

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Facebook had expanded its Protect programme during the US 2020 elections to provide protection and security to high-risk users targeted by cybercriminals.

The platform’s certain users have started receiving notifications to turn on Facebook Protect since the latest roll-out. 

What is Facebook Protect?

Facebook Protect is a programme designed for people that are likely to be highly targeted by malicious hackers, including human rights defenders, journalists, and government officials, Meta says. 

It was first tested in 2018 and when turned on, will mandate account holders to use a two-factor authentication (2FA), particularly by using third-party authentication apps. 

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Who is it for?

The feature is designed for accounts that are at high-risk of cyberattacks or state-sponsored attacks. These include human rights defenders, journalists and government officials. 

“Facebook Protect enables additional automated defences from our systems to help protect these accounts,” Facebook’s Head of Security Nathaniel Gleicher said.

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 “It also flags these accounts in our internal systems. So, we get a report about one of them or we see repeated targeting of one of them and we know there could be more at stake,” Gleicher added.

The feature is being rolled-out in India. 

“We have a journalist registration programme, for example, and a number of publications work proactively with us to make sure that their journalists are highlighted on our platform so that we can provide this additional protection,” Gleicher said.