Facebook adds security tools amid growing privacy storm

Facebook has added new security tools to prevent hacking and held a staff meeting amid a growing storm about privacy at the social networking company.

Facebook has added new security tools to prevent hacking and held a staff meeting amid a growing storm about privacy at the social networking company.

The new security features include e-mail alerts being sent if anyone tries to access a member's account using a device that is not on a list specified by the account holder.

The alert will include instructions on how to reset account passwords and block the unrecognised device to secure accounts quickly, Facebook said in a blog post.

The firm has also added controls to block suspicious logins by asking for proof of identity.

"We might ask the person to enter a birth date, identify a friend in a photo or answer a security question if you've previously provided one," the blog post said.

Facebook confirmed that it has held a staff meeting at its Palo Alto offices to discuss its privacy strategy, but said no details of the discussions will be released.

The social networking firm is increasingly coming under fire from US and European privacy groups and regulators who claim that new features compromise the privacy of members.

The new features introduced in April allow partner websites to incorporate Facebook data in a move aimed at increasing the social network's presence on the internet.

A European Union group has sharply criticised the changes, saying public access to profile information should be and explicit choice of the user.

A group of 15 US privacy and consumer protection groups has filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accusing Facebook of "unfair and deceptive" practices.

The complaint calls on the FTC to investigate Facebook's privacy practices and force it to take steps to guard better against security breaches.

A group of US senators has also written to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to express concern that personal information is being made available to third party websites.

Sharing personal information should be strictly on an "opt-in" basis in which a user specifically gives permission for data to be shared, they said.

Early in May, Facebook hired former FTC chairman Tim Muris to bolster its team in the face of increased scrutiny of the social networking site's privacy policies.

The appointment of Muris follows a similar move in 2009, when Facebook hired Tim Sparapani, then senior counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has close ties with some of the site's strongest critics.

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