New Security Features Lets Users End Active Facebook Sessions Remotely

Facebook is rolling out a new security allowing users to remotely log out of any Facebook session active on another device. If a user logs in to Facebook on a public computer or a friend’s mobile device and forgets to log out when they’re done, they can visit their Account->Account Settings->Settings->Account Security->Account Activity panel, and choose to end any active session.

This feature will help protect users from malicious strangers trying to hijack one’s account, as well as the somewhat common practice of mischievous friends editing one’s profile or making unauthorized communications.

The account activity panel shows all of a user’s currently active sessions. To help users distinguish between sessions, each is labeled with the time accessed, the device name if a user named it with Facebook’s login notifications feature, the approximate location as determined by IP Address, and which browser and operating system used. Clicking “end activity” closes that session, requiring anyone using the selected device to have the password in order to access the account. Facebook also recommends changing one’s password after ending a remote session in case the unauthorized user tried to change or reset the existing password.

Unauthorized use of an active Facebook session has become a greater security concern, especially as Facebook’s mobile apps proliferate. These apps often don’t require users to log in each time they open the app, meaning if someone stole your iPhone, they could access your Facebook account through the Facebook for iPhone app until you change your password. It doesn’t take long for an unauthorized user to damage one’s credibility. By changing one’s profile to include offensive content then inviting all of one’s friends to an event highlighting these changes, spamming or defriending people, or deleting Pages and Groups a user is an admin of, lasting harm can be done quickly.

By helping users to prevent these kinds of horror stories, Facebook makes users feel safe creating a digital identity with wide-reaching influence on their real-world reputation.