Facebook Says Its “Empathy” Helps You Stay Secure

facebook-security-2Facebook product manager Melissa Luu-Van wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review this week detailing the company’s unique approach to helping users protect their privacy. Instead of focusing solely on the technological aspect of cyber security, Luu-Van says that Facebook also addresses the “human context” of these problems in three empathetic ways. 

First, the site says that it researches consumer challenges and needs. For instance, when it asked several user focus groups of about their biggest security concerns, Facebook learned a few key insights.

“Overwhelmingly, people told us they wanted more control; simply knowing that Facebook was working behind the scenes to protect their accounts wasn’t enough,” Luu-Van wrote. “We learned that many Facebook users were unaware of all the security features we offer to add extra protection to their accounts — but once they learned about them, they were eager to use them.”

Second, Facebook created cross-functional teams for a greater diversity of thought in how to solve security issues. Finally, the site learned to focus on “outcomes”, or how secure its users actually are. Facebook began introducing small tweaks that users could make to protect themselves, and talking about these changes in simple and easy-to-understand language.

“Because online security can be a daunting topic, many people shy away from being proactive about it,” Luu-Van wrote. “So encouraging people to start with small steps can go a long way.”

While there’s no doubt that Facebook could do more to protect our privacy, the simple steps it has taken are quite effective.

Be sure to check out our complete walk-through of the major Facebook privacy and security settings.