Social media giant Facebook has taken an additional step to help identify potential bot accounts. The company, using a system similar to a captcha, is asking users to provide “a photo of yourself that clearly shows your face” as a method of verifying your identity. After they “check it,” Facebook states they will “permanently delete it from our servers.”
According to a report on Fox News, the photo-based test was launched earlier in the year, but users have appeared to only just begun to encounter the identity verification system.
A Facebook representative stated that the technology is meant to help the company “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 implementation of the facial recognition technology was put in place as concern about how Russian-linked social media activity may have impacted the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential Election and the Brexit vote in the UK.
Facebook’s photo verification process is automated and compares the image to others in an attempt to determine if it is unique as a way to determine the level of authenticity.
According to Wired, a Twitter post (which has reportedly since been deleted) asserted that Facebook users could be locked out of their accounts while awaiting the results of the photo verification. The message stated, “You Can’t Log In Right Now. We’ll get in touch with you after we’ve reviewed your photo. You’ll now be logged out of Facebook as a security precaution.”
This is the second photo-oriented system Facebook has put in place that has come to light in recent weeks. Earlier in the month, Facebook requested that users upload nude photos as a method of combating revenge porn, stating that the images would be used to create digital fingerprints that can be compared to new posts.
Facebook also said that those photos would be processed and then deleted from the server, but some questioned whether their efforts to discard the images would be sufficient to keep them private or prevent them from being recreated based on the data that is stored.