Facebook today announced it’s implementing a new measure to secure Facebook Pages with large U.S. followings in order to make it harder for people to administer a Page using a “fake or compromised account.” Beginning with those that have large U.S. followings, some Facebook Pages will now have to go through a “Page Publishing Authorization” process. This will require the Page managers to secure their accounts and verify their location.
Facebook says the process only takes a few minutes to complete. If a Page requires this authorization, the Page admins will receive a notice at the top of their News Feed directing them to begin the process.
If they choose not to submit to Authorization, they will no longer be able to post to their Pages, the company says. Enforcement will begin this month.
When the Page owners click through, a message informs them why this is being done and what steps they have to take. To secure their account, Facebook is asking the Page manager to secure their account using two-factor authentication. This makes it more difficult for their account to be hijacked by a third-party, and is a best practice that all Facebook users – not just Page admins – should follow.
Separately, the Facebook Page managers will need to verify their location. This will then be set as the Page’s primary country and display in the new Page Info tab Facebook introduced in June.
Here, Facebook will also show a list of countries of the people who manage the Page, and how many managers hail from each country in that list.
In addition, under Page History, Facebook will show when a Page has merged with another.
The company says this new policy will initially roll out to Pages with large U.S. audiences, and Instagram will soon do something similar. Specifically, Instagram will allow people to see more information about accounts with large audiences.
“Our goal is to prevent organizations and individuals from creating accounts that mislead people about who they are or what they’re doing,” reads a Facebook announcement about the new process. “These updates are part of our continued efforts to increase authenticity and transparency of Pages on our platform.”
The changes follow the recent news that Facebook had found evidence of possible Russia-linked influence campaigns on its network, whose goal was to influence the U.S. midterms. The company removed 8 Facebook Pages, 17 Facebook profiles, and 7 Instagram accounts as a result of its findings.
New policies to make Facebook Pages that reach a sizable number of Americans more secure, and their management more transparent, seems like a good first step on Facebook’s part. Though it’s still possible that those aiming to disrupt democracy and seed division will eventually find workarounds for these measures at some point in the future.