Facebook Testing Anti-Bullying Tool, Password Reset on Mobile Devices

 
 
By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-08-09
 
 
 

Facebook is testing changes to its security tools to allow users report instances of cyber-bullying and reset their passwords from their mobile devices.

The Mobile Social Reporting tool allows Facebook users to request someone to remove offensive posts, profiles and photos directly from their mobile device, according to an Aug. 8 post on the Facebook security blog. The social reporting tool can also be used to report online harassment or bullying. The Mobile Password Reset tool allows users to reset their passwords when locked out and away from the computer.

Both features are undergoing initial testing on Facebook's mobile site. Mobile Social Reporting support is expected to be added for all mobile devices in the following months, the company said. The Mobile Password Reset feature will be rolled out slowly as the company receives feedback from users.

"As more people use mobile devices, we want all of our security tools available everywhere you use Facebook," Dan Muriello, a Facebook engineer on the site integrity team, wrote on the blog.

Facebook initially rolled out the social reporting tool to the photo gallery in March at the same time the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention convened in Washington. The tool allows users to report objectionable photos by providing the option to select "I don't like this photo," or "This photo is harassing or bullying me." The company expanded the tool to other parts of the site so users could report profiles, pages and groups.

"If you are reporting something you don't like, we want to make it easy for you to communicate with the person who posted it," Muriello wrote. The response to the tool has been "great" and nearly 70 percent of reported photos have been removed by the owner, according to Muriello.

The password reset feature would allow mobile users to identify their accounts and choose which e-mail addresses should receive the password recovery link, Muriello said. Users would also have additional ways to confirm their identity in case of being locked out, but Muriello didn't elaborate on those capabilities in the post.

"If you ever forget your password or get locked out of your account, we want to make it easy to get back on Facebook," Muriello said.

Facebook has rolled out a number of new security features in recent months. The social networking site now offers users the option to receive e-mails or SMS messages each time a user's account is accessed from a new computer. With this setting enabled, users can monitor if someone else is trying to login to their accounts without their knowledge.

It also implemented Login Approvals, a two-factor authentication system, to make the login process more secure. For users with Login Approvals enabled, they have to enter a code they receive via text message after entering their regular username and password. Login Approvals does not challenge the user to enter the code on every single login.

Facebook also partnered with Web of Trust to filters sites known to be malicious and allows users to self-report bad links to improve the filters. The CAPTCHA prompts are intended to stop some clickjacking attacks and there is a new mechanism in place to detect if a user copy/pasted in a malicious URL into the browser's address bar.

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