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Facebook offers free antivirus checks

Facebook has expanded its antivirus program to allow users to proactively request help if they suspect their account has been compromised.

Facebook already monitors its site and identifies users when it suspects that content on their account might be malware, but with more than 900 million users, the social network can't be everywhere at once. As a result, the company has announced that users who suspect that malware has been installed on their device can run a check for free using software from Microsoft or McAfee.

"Previously, if you suspected you may have malware installed on your device, you would either need to run anti-virus on your device or wait until Facebook identified an actionable threat," Facebook said in a note on its Security Page. "Now, with our new self-enrollment malware checkpoint, you will be able to proactively obtain your choice of a free anti-virus product to scan and clean your system."

Facebook is offering access to McAfee's Scan and Repair or Microsoft's Security Essentials. When you click on either of those links, Facebook will ask you to re-enter your password for security purposes. A message will then appear that says: "If you think someone may have used your Facebook account without your permission, secure your account to get help. If you know your account is secure, click 'Cancel.'"

If you opt to secure your account, Facebook will install the Microsoft or McAfee software in order to clean up your machine.

"We hope that by making our technology available to more users, on demand, will help all the people who use our service keep their data and devices secure," Facebook said.

In April, Facebook teamed up with several leading antivirus firms to launch an Antivirus Marketplace, which allows users to download a six-month free trial of the companies' software. The marketplace is currently offering products from McAfee, Norton, Microsoft, Sophos, and Trend Micro.