Facebook puts a friendly spin on password security with launch of Trusted Contacts

Facebook (s fb) has re-launched its existing password security feature witha  new system called Trusted Contacts, which allows you to designate actual, real-life friends (you have those, right?) to help you retrieve your password if you get locked out.

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 4.53.52 PMTo use Trusted Contacts, you can log into Facebook and go to your security settings, where you pick three or more friends to serve as your Trusted Contacts. Facebook then notifies those people that you’ve picked them, and if you ever got locked out of your account, you can ask those people to request security codes for you. Once you have three codes, you’ll be able to get into your account. You won’t have to answer security questions to get your password.

Password security is a hot topic right now, as we’ve become even more susceptible to internet hacks that can destroy personal information and leave us digitally stranded. And as the recent hack of the AP’s Twitter account proved, these hacks can have real financial and security implications for companies as well.

Facebook’s move is similar to two-factor authentication that we wrote Twitter should adopt, and which the company reportedly is working to add, although Facebook’s method uses your friends rather than a smartphone to supply the codes. Companies like Apple and Microsoft have recently stepped up password security options for their users, and it’s becoming somewhat of a must-have.

Facebook previously introduced a Trusted Friends feature in 2011 that let you designate friends to help in case you were locked out of your account, and Trusted Contacts is something of an update to that product, notifying your friends in advance.