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Innovation

How to set up two-factor authentication for your Facebook account

Applying two-factor authentication to Facebook is a useful way to protect it from being hacked - here's how to set it up.
Written by Danny Palmer, Senior Writer on
facebook-app-on-a-smartphone-screen
Image: Getty

Your Facebook account is a rich target for cyber criminals. You certainly don't want a random hacker posting in your name if they manage to take over your account, which also contains personal information – your date of birth, your phone number and more – that you wouldn't want exposed, and could help attackers crack your other accounts.  

Securing your account with a strong password – potentially generated by using a password manager – that you don't use for any other accounts is the first step towards keeping your Facebook account secure.  

But by adding two-factor authentication (2FA) – also known as multi-factor authentication – you can add another layer of security to your account to help keep intruders out, even if they've managed to get hold of your password. 

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When your account is secured with two-factor authentication, the attacker usually needs physical access to the device you use to secure your account. That's a much bigger hurdle for them to jump than just getting hold of your password.

Plus, when you have two-factor authentication set up, you'll get an alert whenever there's an attempt to access your account. 

An unexpected notification can indicate that your password has been compromised, but your account will still be protected. 

And it's likely that cyber criminals will give up because attempting to breach the 2FA of your Facebook account probably isn't worth the time or effort involved. 

Here's how to set up two-factor authentication for your Facebook account. 

facebook-logo-on-a-smartphone-screen
Image: Getty

How to set up two-factor authentication for your Facebook account using the Facebook app 

  1. From your home screen, tap the three horizontal lines just below the icon for Facebook Messenger. This will open the menu for your Facebook profile. 
  2. Go to 'Settings & privacy' – the icon looks like a cog and is in the top right-hand corner of the Facebook app. 
  3. In this menu, go to 'Password and security' listed under 'Account' settings. 
  4. Scroll down this menu to 'Two-factor authentication'. 
  5. Select a two-factor authentication security method – authenticator app or text message (SMS). Facebook recommends using an authentication app, such as Google Authenticator or Duo Mobile, both of which randomly generate authentication codes each time you use the app. After you've chosen, press continue. 
  6. You'll be asked to set up the third-party authenticator which, if you don't already have it installed, you can download from several sources. If the Facebook app is on the same phone as your authenticator app, tap 'Set up on same device', which will save the key to the app. You can also save the key by copying the code and manually entering it into the authenticator app. 
  7. Confirm the prompt to save the key. 
  8. Two-factor authentication has been enabled – providing an extra layer of protection to your account when there's an attempt to access it from an unrecognized device or browser. 
  9. If you want to use an SMS as your security method – or as a backup option if your authenticator is unavailable – select 'Text message' (SMS) from the 'Select a security method' menu. 
  10. Select the phone number associated with your Facebook account, or enter a different number you want a code to be sent to, then press 'Continue'. 
  11. Facebook will send a six-digit code to the number you've entered. Once the code arrives in a message listed as from Facebook, enter it into the box and press 'Continue' 
  12. Two-factor authentication using text message is active and you'll be sent a code when there's an attempt to log in to your account from an unrecognized device or browser. 
facebook-logo-on-a-laptop
Image: Getty

How to set up two-factor authentication for your Facebook account using a web browser 

  1. From your home screen, go to account settings in the top right-hand corner – it shows a small version of your Facebook profile picture. 
  2. Open the drop-down menu and select 'Settings & privacy' – the image looks like a cog – then click through to 'Settings'. 
  3. Look for 'Security and login' on the left-hand side of the screen and click on it. 
  4. In this menu, scroll down to 'two-factor authentication' and select 'Use two-factor authentication'.
  5. Select a method of two-factor authentication – Facebook recommends using an authentication app. Facebook recommends using Google Authenticator or Duo Mobile, both of which randomly generate authentication codes each time you use the app. 
  6. A QR code will appear on screen – scan it using your authenticator app. Alternatively, manually enter the code that is displayed into your authenticator app. 
  7. Confirm the prompt to save the key. 
  8. Two-factor authentication has been enabled – providing an extra layer of protection to your account. 
  9. If you want to use an SMS as your security method – or as a backup option if your authenticator is unavailable – select 'Text message' (SMS) from the 'Select a security method' menu. 
  10. Select the phone number associated with your Facebook account, or enter a different number you want a code to be sent to, then press 'Continue'. 
  11. Facebook will send a six-digit code to the number you've entered. Once the code arrives in a message listed as from Facebook, enter it into the box and press 'Continue'.
  12. Two-factor authentication using text message is active and you'll be sent a code when there's an attempt to log in to your account from an unrecognized device or browser. 
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