Facebook today announced the launch of its Anti-Virus Marketplace, a page where users can download free anti-virus software from McAfee, Symantec, Sophos, Trend Micro and Microsoft.

"The AV Marketplace is aimed at the hundreds of millions of Facebook users who don’t currently have security protection on their computer," writes ZDNet's Emil Protalinski. "Facebook lets you download licenses to full versions of antivirus software: Microsoft Security Essentials, McAfee Internet Security 2012, Norton AntiVirus, Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition, and Trend Micro internet security for PCs and Macs. After six months, for the ones that aren’t free forever, you’ll have to pay up."

"A six-month license means this initiative seems more like an advertising partnership with these companies than a selfless giveaway for users' protection," notes WebProNews' Sean Patterson. "Things especially begin to smell of an ad campaign when you realize the company whose software you’ve chosen must be 'liked' by you on Facebook to start the download. "

"In addition, Facebook said today that the five companies have agreed to hand over their URL blacklist databases to the social network," writes CNET News' Don Reisinger. "Facebook has its own blacklist, but with help from the others, it can go a long way in blocking more malicious links that might be shared on the site."

"While Facebook's URL blacklist is extensive, its scale will benefit greatly from the new partnership," writes The Verge's Ellis Hamburger. "Trend Micro, for example, has built up a huge database of malicious URLs and links -- it alone scans 300 million URLs and blocks 1.4 billion potential threats per day."

"Symantec also worked with Facebook on a joint whitepaper about scams and spam on the social network," writes VentureBeat's Jolie O'Dell. "The report, available as a PDF, goes into detail on the newest types of nefarious Facebook schemes, from likejacking to self-XSS attacks."