Facebook says it will soon allow you to get help from your friends when you get locked out of your Facebook account. According to a post on Facebook’s official Security page, you’ll be able to designate three to five friends as “Trusted Friends” who will be sent special codes in the event that you’re locked out of your Facebook account and unable to access your email.
It will also be introducing something called “App Passwords” to bring increased security to Facebook-enabled applications.
Typically, when you can’t remember your Facebook password, you can have a password reset sent to you via email. Sometimes, such as when you’ve had your Facebook account hacked, your email has also been compromised. In other cases, people who signed up with Facebook so long ago may no longer have access to the email account (or accounts) Facebook has on file.
With the new “Trusted Friends” setting, getting back into your locked account can now be facilitated by your friends instead.
Similar to other features that help you prove your identity through your friends, you can now select three to five trusted friends who can help you if you ever have issues accessing your account. It’s sort of similar to giving a house key to your friends when you go on vacation–pick the friends you most trust in case you need their help.
If you forgot your password and need to login but can’t access your email account, you can rely on your friends to help you get back in. We will send codes to the friends you have selected and they can pass along that information to you.
Facebook is also introducing another security feature in the next few weeks called App Passwords. This will allow you to set application-specific passwords that will allow you to login to third-party applications with a unique code. From the description, it sounds like these will be one-time passwords that you will use just the first time you authorize an application using your Facebook credentials.
Although it’s nice to see Facebook focused on security efforts, this particular development is probably not going to be much of a hit with mainstream users. Even Facebook itself can’t seem to describe the feature all that clearly:
There are tons of applications you can use by logging in with your Facebook credentials. However, in some cases, you may want to have a unique password for that application. This is especially helpful if you have opted into Login Approvals, for which security codes don’t always work when using third-party applications.
We are testing a feature that allows you to use app passwords for logging into third-party applications. Simply go to your Account Settings, then the Security tab, and finally to the App Passwords section. You can generate a password that you won’t need to remember, just enter it along with your email when logging into an application.
Facebook makes this announcement all the more confusing by posting a screenshot with the word “Apple” to describe the “app” in question. That makes it sound like Facebook is talking about device-specific passwords, which is not actually the case.
It’s a one-time password for a given app, and that app may run on an Apple device, but it won’t work for all the Facebook-enabled apps on the same device.