Facebook seems to be going through an odd phase of asking users to upload pictures of themselves for a variety of reasons. Recently it said that uploading naked pictures could help prevent revenge porn, and now it's started asking people to upload selfies to verify their identities.
It's sounds kind of like a more serious CAPTCHA, and if you refuse to upload an image (or the image doesn't meet Facebook's standards) you could be locked out of your account. If you do, Facebook promises that the image will be checked, and then deleted from the server. It's something that started rolling out back in April, and even though it's all supposedly automated some people have complained that the verification process takes too long - leaving them logged out of their accounts for days at a time.
a friend sent me this: Facebook is now locking users out of account features, then demanding that those users "verify" their account to get back in by scanning an image of their face. AN IMAGE OF THEIR FACE. pic.twitter.com/T4TIsJFxX8
— can Amy Goodman pls stop inviting Assange on thx (@flexlibris) November 28, 2017
Others have found that Facebook wants to verify their face every single time they try and log in. Which coupled with the potential days-long verification process kind of defeats the purpose of having an account in the first place.
Speaking to Wired, a Facebook spokesperson said the measure is designed to “help us catch suspicious activity at various points of interaction on the site, including creating an account, sending Friend requests, setting up ads payments, and creating or editing ads.”
Obviously this isn't the first time Facebook has locked people out of their accounts, asking them to do some stuff to regain access. Most of the time it's because you're logging in from a strange place or are using an open public Wi-Fi network, which makes sense from a security perspective. But there have also been cases where people have been locked out because Facebook insisted that they install a particular piece of anti-virus software. Even if the user already has an active anti-virus programme they'd be greeted with a very dodgy-looking page that insists you have malware and asks you to download something to clean it up.
That happened to me, and I was locked out of my account for nearly two weeks before Facebook magically decided it was ok to let me on again.
Keeping accounts safe is a good thing, and making sure automated bots don't go around Facebook causing trouble isn't something anyone can complain about. But there has to be a better way of doing it than a process that potentially locks people out of their accounts for days at a time - and not just as a one off. [Wired]