Facebook Begins Converting Users To HTTPS

By David Cohen 

Are you willing to sacrifice a little bit of speed for a lot more safety? Facebook is asking that very question with its announcement that it will transition all of its users to HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) starting this week, adding that speed-hungry users can opt out if they wish.

Facebook said in a post on its developer blog last week:

As announced last year, we are moving to HTTPS for all users. This week, we’re starting to roll out HTTPS for all North America users, and we will soon be rolling out to the rest of the world.

Facebook began allowing users to opt in to HTTPS in January 2011, and the social network said at the time, as pointed out by TechCrunch:

Encrypted pages take longer to load, so you may notice that Facebook is slower using HTTPS.

Facebook Security Policy Manager Frederic Wolens explained the “slight” difference in loading speed between HTTPS and HTTP to TechCrunch:

It is far from a simple task to build out this capability for the more than 1 billion people who use the site and retain the stability and speed we expect, but we are making progress daily toward this end. This may slow down connections only slightly, but we have deployed significant performance enhancements to our load-balancing infrastructure to mitigate most of the impact of moving to HTTPS, and we will be continuing this work as we deploy this feature.

Sophos’ Naked Security blog provided instructions for Facebook users who want to make the switch immediately:

If you can’t wait for Facebook to turn on HTTPS/SSL in your neck of the woods, you should set it up for yourself. Log into your Facebook account and navigate to account settings/security, where you should be able to enable “secure browsing.”

Readers: Have you already enabled HTTPS on your Facebook accounts? If not, will you continue to use HTTPS after Facebook’s conversion, or opt out?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.