Announced last year, Facebook has confirmed that it’s moving its entire user base to HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) starting this week.
Once used primarily for banking and e-commerce sites, HTTPS is now becoming the norm for any website that stores user information. The social network first introduced this on login pages, but began allowing members to opt in to encrypting all of their Facebook browsing in January 2011.
Nearly two years later, Facebook is finally ready to make HTTPS default — this was delayed due to the fact that encrypted pages take longer to load, resulting in a slower experience. The company admits that speed is still affected, but it will “slow down connections only slightly.”
As with most feature rollouts, Facebook runs the risk of frustrating its members by automatically opting everyone in. In most cases, we support the individual’s right to choose, but in this case, we believe it was the right call. As TechCrunch pointed out, “the people who are the least security savvy and therefore more vulnerable are probably the least likely to voluntarily enable HTTPS.”
The rollout will begin with members in North America and will soon become available to the rest of the world. If you’re concerned about your account’s safety, you don’t have to do anything. However, if you’re happy with your current browsing settings, you can opt out of HTTPS through your Account Security settings.