Facebook using a selfie to prove your identity

The next time Facebook notices suspicious activity on your account, they could be asking you to verify your identity via selfie. The social media company verified they’ve launched the photo test as a way to verify a user’s identity when the account is locked.

Unsurprisingly, some of us might be hesitant to hand over a private photo of ourselves to load onto Facebook’s servers. So the company made it clear the facial recognition technology used to scan the photo is completely automated and the photo is deleted from their servers as soon as the user’s identity is verified. But until that photo is uploaded, the user will remain locked out of their account.

The company wouldn’t go into details about what constitutes suspicious activity but did elaborate that the test could get triggered at various interaction points on the site.

A Facebook spokesperson said the photo test is intended 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” according to Wired.

They also stated they’ll verify the photo is unique so potential hackers don’t just get around the test by uploading an existing photo. It’s not clear exactly when this test started popping up but some users reported running into it in back in April.

And this isn’t the first time Facebook has asked its users to submit photos. They’ve also partnered with Australia to trial a system by which users are invited to proactively submit nude photos of themselves they fear might be used as “revenge porn” by angry exes or device hackers. Facebook offers to make a digital fingerprint of the photo and prevent anyone else from posting it on their platform. And here just as in the selfie test, Facebook promises those photos are getting deleted.

Kelly Paik
Kelly Paik writes about science and technology for Fanvive. When she's not catching up on the latest innovations, she uses her free-time painting and roaming to places with languages she can't speak. Because she rather enjoys fumbling through cities and picking things on the menu through a process of eeny meeny miny moe.