1.5 million users joined Facebook Protect since September

Meta (formerly Facebook) said today that they enrolled more than 1.5 million users in Facebook Protect, a security program designed for human rights activists, journalists, and government officials.

Facebook Protect was initially tested in 2018 and was launched officially ahead of the 2020 US elections. The program works by activating stronger account security controls for sensitive accounts and Facebook Pages.

Users who enroll in the program are typically asked to enable two-factor authentication for their accounts, which also receive special monitoring for hacking threats and prioritized customer support in case they need to regain access to their profiles after getting hacked.

Today, Facebook said they silently began expanding the program this September when they started prompting additional users and organizations to join.

"Since then, more than 1.5 million accounts have enabled Facebook Protect, and of those, nearly 950K accounts newly enrolled in two-factor authentication," Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Security Policy at Facebook, said today.

The Facebook exec said the company would be prompting more eligible users to join Facebook Protect in the coming months. Those asked to join will see a popup on their app, and no special action, such as providing documents or additional proof, will be required besides pressing a button to enroll.

"We are on track to expand the program to more than 50 countries by the end of the year, including the United States, India, and Portugal," Gleicher said.

The program will be particularly focused on getting eligible users to enable 2FA for their accounts, a feature that Gleicher told reporters in a press call yesterday that the company views as essential to stopping most attacks.

Gleicher said the idea is to bring the program to countries ahead of crucial elections in order to protect accounts that may be influential in their outcome. The Philippines, India, and Myanmar were countries where the Facebook exec said he hoped the feature would help.

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Catalin Cimpanu

Catalin Cimpanu

is a cybersecurity reporter who previously worked at ZDNet and Bleeping Computer, where he became a well-known name in the industry for his constant scoops on new vulnerabilities, cyberattacks, and law enforcement actions against hackers.