Facebook has officially launched ThreatExchange - a collaborative social network where companies can share information on cybersecurity threats, in an effort to neuter potential damage.

The initiative - which has attracted early participation from some big name companies including Pinterest, Dropbox, Bitly, Tumblr, Twitter and Yahoo in its beta version - will allow participants to exchange information about online threats including malicious software and computer vulnerabilities, reports CNET.

Announcing the launch of ThreatExchange, Mark Hammell, the manager of the Threat Infrastructure team at Facebook, wrote: "A little over a year ago, a group of technology companies came together to discuss a botnet that was spreading a malware-based spam attack on all of our services. We quickly learned that sharing with one another was key to beating the botnet because parts of it were hosted on our respective services and none of us had the complete picture. During our discussions, it became clear that what we needed was a better model for threat sharing."

The result of this, he writes, was ThreatExchange, which is built on the current Facebook platform infrastructure with APIs layered on top so that partners can "query the available threat information and also publish to all or a subset of participating organizations."

ZDNet sees this development as part of a wider landscape of collaboration in the fight against cybercriminals, noting that the launch of ThreatExchange comes in the same week as the launch of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center.

The Facebook announcement makes no reference to outside developments, however. "Our goal is that organizations anywhere will be able to use ThreatExchange to share threat information more easily, learn from each other's discoveries, and make their own systems safer," Hammell explained.

"That's the beauty of working together on security. When one company gets stronger, so do the rest of us," he concluded.