Online services are becoming increasingly concerned with security, with two-factor authentication now being the flavor of the day. Extra security at login is great, but what if you forget your password? Facebook’s Trusted Contacts can help out here.
Phone a Friend
You may feel that you would never forget your Facebook password — you probably enter it at least once a day — but what happens if you take a Facebook sabbatical, or your account is hacked and your password is changed?
There are already methods by which you can request a forgotten password, but Trusted Contacts gives you another option. Pick between three and five friends you trust and should you find yourself locked out of your account, you can call on them to help you regain access.
When the need arises, Facebook will send security codes to the friends you have chosen and at least three of these codes need to be communicated to you so you can unlock your account. Here’s how to go about getting it all set up.
Configure Trusted Contacts
Trusted Contacts is something that has to be set up in advance — it is prevention rather than cure. Log into your Facebook account, click the gear icon to the upper right of the page and select Account Settings.
Click the Security link to the left and then click the Trusted Contacts link to the right followed by Choose Trust Contacts.
Read through the popup that appears — it just gives a brief overview of how Trusted Contacts works — and then click the Choose Trusted Contacts button.
Type the name of someone you would like to use as a Trusted Contact, select their name from the popup list and repeat for a total of three to five friends or contacts.
When you have done this, click Confirm and then re-enter your account password when prompted to do so.
This list of people can be changed whenever you feel the need. Just head back to the Trusted Contacts section of your account settings.
Click the Edit link to remove and add individuals from the list, or use the Remove All link to start from scratch.
There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding who to choose as a trusted contact. Remember that you’ll need to be able to contact them when you are locked out of Facebook, so don’t choose anyone you only know through the social network and do not have other contact details for.
When called upon, trusted contacts will need to be able to log into their own Facebook account, so don’t choose someone who is often away, doesn’t always have access to a computer or who may have trouble getting online.
Regaining Account Access
Should you find yourself locked out of your Facebook account for any reason, this is when you can make use of your Trusted Contacts list. At the Facebook login screen, click the ‘Forgotten your password?’ link and then enter your name, username, email address or phone number to identify yourself.
If you’re making use of Trusted Contacts, it is to be assumed that you do not have access to your backup email account or phone to use as a means of account recovery. Assuming Facebook has correctly identified you, click ‘No longer have access to these?’ and click Continue.
You will now need to provide another email address or phone number that Facebook can use to send you recovery details.
Get in touch with your trusted contacts and tell them to visit https://www.facebook.com/recover where they will be given a PIN – you will need to enter the full name of one of your contacts first in order to reveal the full list.
When they visit the link, your friend will first be told that you need help accessing your account.
In a vague attempt to prevent fraudulent use, they will then have to confirm that they have spoken to you and verified that someone else is not abusing Trusted Contacts in a bid to access your account.
Once this has been done, a code will be shown which needs to be communicated to you.
When you receive the codes from your friends, enter them in the boxes at the bottom of the page and click Continue.
Assuming the correct codes have been entered, you’ll then be given the chance to reset your password and regain access to your account.
Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Twitter and Google+.
- Published 06/4/13