Want to secure your social info? Facebook shows you how

Facebook today launched 11 interactive guides and how-tos to help users secure their social information.

Facebook today launched 11 interactive guides and how-tos to help users secure their social information.

The new guides, which can be found on the Facebook Privacy Basics site, are designed to help users understand the best ways to create a strong password, how to handle suspicious messages and what to do if someone takes over the user's account.

Available in 40 languages, the guides also touch on how the world's largest social network responds to government requests for user information and the steps Facebook takes to protect your information.

"Since last November, millions of people have visited Facebook Privacy Basics, a dedicated resource that gives people a simpler way to find and use our privacy controls," wrote Melissa Luu-Van, a Facebook product manager, in a blog post. "After seeing how interested people are in material like this, we discovered that they also had questions about our security tools."

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, told Computerworld that this is a helpful step for Facebook's more than 1 billion users. "I really like this," he said. "I think security of Internet sites can be intimidating, especially for non-tech-savvy people. I believe the majority of users just choose the default settings and then are surprised when that level of security isn't enough. Facebook's easy-to-follow guide should allow more people to be as secure or insecure as they want to be but understand it better."

Kerravala also said the graphics added to the guides make the instructions easier to follow.

"The information is there but it's more the graphical guide that makes it easy," he explained. "The graphics de-intimidate the process... I think this is the type of information that all users should know. There are so many scams and the like on the web, it's important to not have Facebook be the conduit for it."

The issue is getting users to check out the new guides so they can better protect themselves while on Facebook.

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said Facebook will need to help users find the information, possibly by putting pointers near where people sign in and out or on their news feeds.

"Even better would be for them to take some of their precious ad space and advertise the new capability," said Moorhead. "I think this is a really good step for users. But I think Facebook should be this aggressive in protecting their users' privacy. Users need both security and privacy protection."

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