If you happen to be locked out of your Facebook account, you may soon need to upload a selfie to prove your identity and be able to log back in. As a matter of fact, it seems that Facebook has already started implementing this captcha. In case they notice suspicious activity on your account, you will be asked to “upload a photo of yourself that clearly shows your face.” After it’s verified, you will be allowed to log back in.
Facebook didn’t issue an announcement on this change. Instead, the users found it out through a tweet:
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
What’s more, some Reddit users reported it back in April:
“This started about 4 hours ago. I started by uploading pictures that had already been taken, then took a couple of myself. Every time it says the picture is invalid.
Text reads: ‘Please upload a photo of yourself which clearly shows your face. It can be an older photo, and it doesn’t have to just be you on your own — so long as you’re in it. When you send us a photo, we’ll check it and then permanently delete it from our servers.”
As a Facebook spokesperson told WIRED, this verification method will help them “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.”
The spokesperson said that Facebook checks whether the photo is unique, and this is only one of several methods for detecting suspicious activity. They declined to share the details of how the system works, to prevent it from being manipulated. As WIRED writes, until your photo gets verified, you will be locked out from your account and unable to log in. If you suspect someone has hacked your account, you can contact Facebook via this link.
This story made me remember the experience I had with Instagram. I forgot the password and probably tried logging in too many times. I got locked out of my account and contacted them to solve the problem. It was one of the most painstaking processes ever. I got a verification number which I had to write on a piece of paper, take a selfie with it, and then send it to their email so they can confirm it was me. And I’m sure Instagram still has my mug shot-like photo somewhere in their archive. So after that experience, Facebook’s face recognition doesn’t seem so terrible. At least it’s less awkward than their attempt to prevent revenge porn by getting your nudes via Messenger.