Facebook has publicly released a new feature called Trusted Contacts. The feature was originally released for testing at the end of October 2011 under the name Trusted Friends. It went through some drastic changes during the testing process, including the ability to add trusted accounts before a user is blocked.
Here are a few facts about Facebook’s Trusted Contacts, taken from Facebook’s Trusted Contacts announcement and testing of the feature:
* Trusted Contacts can be modified from a user’s Security Settings page. The user can add add between three and five friends from a list of their Facebook friends.
* When a user sets their trusted contacts, each contact will be notified. Users will not be notified, however, if they are removed from the Trusted Contacts list.
* Users can choose three to five other Facebook users to serve as their trusted contacts. All three users must have active, non-blocked accounts.
* Facebook recommends that users try to add the full five trusted contacts, because that makes it easier to get in if when a user is locked out. At least three of the trusted contacts have to be available in order to unblock the user.
* When a user is blocked, they have to contact their Trusted Contacts by phone or by some other means other than Facebook in order to get their help.
* In order to get help from Trusted Contacts after being locked out of an account a user must click “Forgot your password?” next to the login bar, then follow the directions to get a special URL that must be given to the trusted contacts. Each of the trusted contacts then must go to the URL and retrieve a security code. The blocked user must have at least three security codes to get back into their account.
* Trusted contacts may be identified before or after a user has been blocked. If the user does not add trusted contacts before being blocked, there will be an option to choose trusted contacts after clicking on “Forgot your password?”
* A user’s trusted contacts should ensure that the blocked user is who they claim to be before grabbing an access code. That means it is better to give access after receiving a phone call or seeing the blocked user in person. An email that appears to be from a blocked friend could be a trick, especially if the friend may be blocked after having their email or Facebook accounts hacked.
* Facebook recommends that users only add trusted contacts that they would trust with a key to their house. These should be truly close friends that are known in person, and know who you really are. Casual friends who do not know each other outside of Facebook should never be listed as trusted contacts.