At the beginning of March, a certain group of Facebook users received a mysterious, spam-like email titled “Your account requires advanced security from Facebook Protect,” informing them that they needed to activate the Facebook Protect feature (via a link in the email) by a certain date or risk being locked out of their account.
According to Facebook, the initiative is a “security programme for groups of individuals who are more likely to be attacked by malevolent hackers, such as human rights campaigners, journalists, and government officials.” Its purpose is to guarantee that such accounts are monitored for hacking risks and are secured by two-factor authentication (2FA).
It was not, in fact, spam. It was, in fact, true. For many individuals, the first deadline came on Thursday, March 17th. And now they’re locked out of their Facebook accounts, and they’re having problems regaining access via the mechanism Facebook has set up.
Facebook users Already Affected
Those who did not activate Facebook Protect before the deadline is reportedly receiving a message explaining why they are unable to access their accounts and offering to assist them in turning it on. However, it is not always effective:
There have also been a number of complaints on Twitter and other social networking sites about users being locked out of their accounts even though they have taken the necessary precautions. Some claim that their text-based 2FA is just ineffective:
Others have reported that they were unable to complete the activation procedure even before the deadline and are therefore essentially locked out of their accounts:
Meanwhile, the social company is yet to relate to these affected persons the next step to take regarding their account or what it means for them but the fact is there are on able to access and make use of their Facebook accounts. According to Vox Media (The Verge), reporters have reached out to the tech company to obtain corresponding inside on this issue and the next step for any affected user to take but is awaiting a reply from Facebook.
However, users who are not affected and those who wish to also turn on Facebook protect to avoid future complications can follow the steps below:
- Go to your Facebook page. (You may get a pop-up notice about Facebook Protect.)
- Click on the arrow in the upper right corner (desktop) or on the three-line “hamburger” icon (mobile)
- Select Settings & Privacy > Settings
- Select Security and Login (desktop) or Password and Security (mobile)
- Under Facebook Protect, you’ll see a note that “FaceBook Protect is Off.” Click on Get Started (desktop) or tap on the arrow (mobile)
After that, just follow the instructions. If you have a decently strong password and have previously activated 2FA, you will not need to do anything further; you will just get a notification stating that you are all set.