Facebook Creates New Protections for Journalist Accounts

Photo by Tim Bennett on Unsplash

The takeaways

  • Facebook has enabled editorial journalists in English, Spanish and Portuguese territories to register their accounts for online security features.
  • All applicants must hold a professional email with a registered Facebook news Page organization to be considered for the service.
  • With online targeting of journalists on the rise, the features are aimed at verifying and protecting them from harassment and fraud.

What happened?

Facebook has introduced a feature allowing any journalist working for a verified news source to register their personal or professional page. By doing so, journalists can access significant security features to protect their information and presence on Facebook.

Registration is voluntary and currently available to editorial journalists located in the United States, Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines with English, Spanish and Portuguese accounts. Applicants must also fulfill Facebook’s other criteria, which includes working for a Facebook News-registered organization and holding a professional email matching the domain of the registered news organization.

Through the feature, journalists accounts can be monitored for harassment and potential hacking threats. Other protections include two-step verification of WhatsApp and Instagram accounts. In the future, registered journalists may also be eligible for news-specific products and features built especially for editorial functions. Global registration, including other languages, is to be announced at a later stage.

The benefits of registration

Journalists worldwide have become a primary target for online trolls, foreign influence operations and even politicians and the general public. Methods employed against them include online harassment and intimidation, account hacking, disinformation and identity theft. 90% of U.S. and Canadian respondents to a survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists perceived online harassment as the biggest threat to their safety. 

Facebook specified that registering as a journalist does not confer the same privileges as being registered as a news Page (and vice versa).

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