How To Use ‘Trusted Friends’ To Recover Your Facebook Account

Facebook has begun rolling out a new feature that will help users regain access to their accounts if they’ve been locked out. Think of it as the life vest under an airplane seat: most likely you’ll never have to use it, but if you do, you’ll be glad it’s there.

The new recovery feature is called Trusted Friends, and as the name implies, it relies on users to name up to five trusted Facebook friends who will become the links to safely regaining access to accounts. It would only be used when access to a linked email account was unavailable for recovery.

Facebook account lockout could occur if users forget their Facebook passwords and could not login into their email accounts to receive password resets. This could happen if accounts were compromised by a cyber thief. If locked out, Facebook will send a security code to each of a user’s trusted friends. The locked-out user would then contactthe designated friends, retrieve the codes and regain access to the account to reset the password.

Facebook requires three friends to activate the Trusted Friends feature, but recommends designating all five in case the user is unable to reach the needed three. Your trusted friends should be people you can easily call and who are likely to respond to you quickly, Facebook support recommends.

You must have Trusted Friends set up in advance of an emergency. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Security Settings from the Account > Account Settings > Security.
  2. Click on the Trusted Friends section.
  3. Scroll through your friends or search for specific friends, select five friends and confirm your choices.
  4. If you don’t see “Trusted Friends” yet, check back. Facebook is rolling out the new feature to everyone over the next week or so.

If you’ve lost access to your Facebook account:

  1. If you don’t have access to any of the email addresses or mobile numbers listed that are associated with your account, click “No longer have access to these?”
  2. Follow the directions to enter a new contact email address and send codes to your friends.
  3. Call your trusted friends and collect the codes.
  4. Enter the codes in the space provided.
  5. Reset your password.

Facebook also offers one-time password codes to login to your account, which could be useful protection when working on a public computer  or in public areas with unsecured Wi-Fi. To receive a one-time password, send a text message to 32665 with the message "otp". Facebook will reply with a unique, 8-character temporary password. The one-time password will be valid for 20 minutes and can't be reused.

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