As BSN reported yesterday, Facebook said it will enable a secure https connection to its website and today this handy new feature has become available to some users.

The social networking giant will be gradually rolling it out to everyone in the coming weeks so don’t panic if you ain’t seeing it yet.

Now, if you’re accessing the Facebook site from an unsecured wireless network at your home or work (many people do) or from an Internet cafe, your local library or other public place, you should really take advantage of the new feature that enables stronger security.

What https access does is it encrypts every piece of information traveling between your computer and the Facebook cloud.

Thus, https prevents eavesdropping and gives you a piece of mind that everything you do on the site, from posting a photo to commenting friends’ statuses, will be handled using an industry-standard encryption. Previously, the Facebook site would use https access only at the login prompt, to protect your password as it travels to the cloud.

Whenever you’re surfing the web in the secure https mode, you should see a green lock icon in your browser’s address bar. Turning https access is real simple, just follow these simple steps:

  1. log in to your account at facebook.com
  2. choose Account Settings from a drop-down menu that appears when you click the Account tab in the rightmost part of the web interface at the top
  3. go to the Account Security section found under the Settings tab and check the box labeled "Secure browsing (https)"

You’re done. From now on, you will be browsing the Facebook site via https and your browser should give you a visual clue in the address bar, similar to the prompt shown on the image below. Here are some additional facts you need to know before using secure Facebook access:

  • due to encryption, enabling https may result in longer loading times and slower response of the web interface
  • some Facebook features may not be supported when using https
  • many Facebook applications are not currently supported in https

If you want my advice, refrain from https when accessing Facebook from your home computer or a mobile device such as your smartphone or a tablet.

Instead, enable https when on a public or shared computer and disable it when done. This will ensure optimal performance most of the time while providing an added layer of security when accessing the Facebook site publicly, using a shared computer or unsecured networks. A final word of advice: secure your home network on your router and turn on encryption if you already haven’t done so.