Facebook rolled out some modifications to its privacy controls, but critics say they still don't do what's needed to secure user privacy.
day after security firm Sophos penned an open letter asking Facebook to improve
its privacy and security features, Facebook introduced a suite of security
tools aimed at helping users stay safe online.
social networking giant improved its social reporting tools for flagging
wall posts and photos as spam, improved its secure browsing options via HTTPS,
and added more content explaining privacy and security, according to a post by
Arturo Bejar, a Facebook safety engineer, on the Facebook Blog
on April 19. Bejar also hinted at a new two-factor authentication mechanism to
come soon to make the log-in process even more secure.
Bejar described the changes as "social solutions to safety," a security
researcher remained dissatisfied.
not enough. Facebook has got a longer road ahead of it if it's really serious
about protecting its users," Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at
Sophos, said in an email statement.
had posted an open
letter to Facebook
on the Naked
on April 18, criticizing Facebook for not pushing out strong
privacy and security protections for users. The letter outlined three basic
steps Facebook needed to implement.
is also "improving HTTPS." At this time, if the user wants to use an app that
doesn't support encrypted connections, the user has to first disable HTTPS.
With the new changes, the site will automatically switch back to the secure
HTTPS protocol after the user finishes using that app.
improvements did not address Cluley's main complaint about HTTPS, in that it isn't
enabled by default. Users first have to know about the option to have their
Facebook traffic encrypted, and then have to turn it on manually. Cluley also
noted that users don't have the option to enable HTTPS when browsing Facebook
over mobile devices.
will be rolling out two-factor authentication to allow users to enter a
one-time password generated on a separate device, such as a token or a mobile
phone, in order to log into Facebook, according to Bejar. Cluley said it is not
possible to determine whether it will be effective without more information.
users can use the social reporting tool to flag wall posts and photos as spam
to their friends as well as to Facebook. Flagging the item would help users
warn their network of friends when they "see something they don't like,"
Bejar said. Users can report bullying incidents, imposter profiles, abusive
content and other issues simultaneously to Facebook, the person who posted it
and a "trusted adult" who may be able to help address the issue.
tool is also now available to other areas in Facebook, including profiles,
pages and groups.
recent study found that even when Facebook users recognized something as a scam
on Facebook, they rarely told their friends. With this tool, the users would
automatically be notifying their friends whenever they tell Facebook.
also redesigned the Family Safety Center to add more content to educate
parents, teens and children about safety and privacy on the site. In addition, Facebook
will be creating a guide for educators to answer common questions about Facebook.