After roughly a decade of operation, Facebook has become one of the largest websites in the world and is still the most widely used social media network on the planet. Because Facebook accounts can contain scores of sensitive personal data, Facebook offers a selection of security features to ensure that your account isn't being accessed by an unauthorized user.
The various forms of Facebook account security checks are some of the more helpful of these features, but they can also be some of the more annoying ones to experience depending on your use of the Facebook website or mobile app. While they cannot be turned off entirely, methods exist to minimize the number of security checks Facebook performs on your account if you use Facebook on multiple devices in multiple locations.
Security and Facebook Accounts
While Facebook as a company has a number of security measures to prevent unauthorized access to image and messaging servers, there are two security features most commonly encountered by users in their day to day Facebook use. These are Facebook account security checks and Facebook login approvals, two features that are often referred to by the same term ("security checks") but manifest in different ways.
Security checks are CAPTCHA tests that must be completed before taking certain actions on Facebook, like adding friends or sending messages via Facebook Messenger. Login approvals, on the other hand, are triggered whenever Facebook detects that you've logged in to your account from a new computer, mobile device or dramatically different IP address. Once an approval has been triggered, you will be unable to use Facebook until you verify your identity by using your phone or email address or by using one of Facebook's more unique photo-based options. These are much more difficult to stop, but before attempting to do so, it's worth asking whether you should do so at all.
The Risks of Disabling Security Measures
Before attempting to disable any of your Facebook account's security measures, it's important to understand the risks that may come with doing so. While security notifications and CAPTCHA tests may be annoying or time consuming, these measures exist to keep both your data and your friends' data safe and secure.
Remember that Facebook accounts can contain more than your name, photos and friend connections. Private messages between you and others, information about your location and frequently visited areas and banking information may all be exposed if a malicious user obtains access to your Facebook account, which becomes easier as you disable and minimize the effects of account security features. This information may then be used to gain access to other online accounts of yours. At the same time, if your account is compromised, it becomes significantly easier for a malicious user to gain access to or compromise the accounts of your friends and family. Keep this in mind before attempting to disable security measures.
Disabling Facebook Login Approvals
Security checks triggered by adding friends and sending messages can generally be dismissed by verifying your account and linking it to a phone number by following the prompts that appear on your account dashboard.
Facebook login approvals, however, cannot be turned off entirely. They can only be minimized. To do this, open Facebook and click the triangle in the corner of the navigation bar. Near the bottom of the drop-down menu, select "Settings." Navigate to "Security and Login" in the menu at the left of the screen, and then scroll down to the "Setting Up Extra Security" section. Click the "Edit" button on the top tab and use the checkboxes to enable email or text notifications when unauthorized devices log in to your account. Save the changes, and then scroll up to the "Two-Factor Authentication" section. Click the "Edit" button on the top tab to enable two-factor authentication for your Facebook account by following the steps provided, and then log out of Facebook.
Log back in to Facebook with your preferred devices. Then, after verifying the login with your phone or authenticator, use the prompts provided to add your device to the trusted device list. Once this is done, logins from that device will no longer prompt login approvals. You can do this with as many devices as you choose, but you are advised to limit your trusted devices to devices you're certain are safe and secure.
Facebook Messenger Security Settings
Though Facebook Messenger is considered a separate application and service and can be used without a Facebook account, the communication service features many of the same security measures as the main Facebook app and website. A Facebook Messenger security check or login approval will be triggered under the same conditions that would prompt a Facebook check or approval and can be disabled in the same ways (linking your Messenger account to a phone number or adding your preferred device to a list of always-cleared devices). However, if your Messenger account is connected to a primary Facebook account, security checks and login approvals will not trigger if you've configured your security settings on that linked Facebook account.
- If you have Login Approval turned off, a malicious user who's stolen your login information can access your account on some other device. Instead of turning off Login Approval, consider just adding all the computers and devices you use to your list of recognized devices.
Blake Flournoy is a writer, reporter, and researcher based out of Baltimore, MD. Working independently and alongside professors at Goucher College, they have produced and taught a number of educational programs and workshops for high school and college students in the Baltimore area, finding new ways to connect students to biology, psychology, and statistics. They have never seen Seinfeld and are deathly scared of wasps.