If you have opened Twitter today you may have noticed an increase in messages reporting that the social media site Facebook was asking them to provide a Government ID to unlock their account on the site.
The message that users received during log in to their Facebook account states the following: "For security reasons your account is temporarily locked. If this account reflects your real name and personal information, please help us verify it".
The user who has been temporarily locked out of the account is then asked to provide a government ID for verification.
Facebook itself has not published a public comment yet and it is unclear if the company will address the issue at all.
Facebook Government ID
Facebook's Help page provides further information about the practice:
If you can't verify your account using your mobile number, you'll need to provide a copy of your photo ID. This could be a scanned copy or a close-up photo you've taken.
Upload a photo ID
How to upload your ID
- Optional: Cover up any confidential information (ex: license or passport number)
- Scan or take a picture of your ID with your digital camera
- Make sure you can clearly see your name, birthday and photo
- Save the photo to your desktop
- Click the button below and follow the instructions to upload your ID
This is my government issued ID. I understand I won't get help with my account if I haven't uploaded a valid ID.
The very same page lists the types of IDs that Facebook accepts:
- Birth certificate
- Driver's license
- Marriage certificate
- Official Name change paperwork
- Personal or vehicle insurance card
- Non-driver's government ID
- Green card, residence permit or immigration papers
- Social Security Card
- Voter ID Card
In addition, Facebook will also accept any of the two following items that must show the name and date of birth of the locked out Facebook user.
- Bank statement
- Bus card
- Credit Card
- Employment verification
- Library card
- Magazine subscription stub
- Medical record
- Membership IDs
- Paycheck stub
- School card
- School record
- Utility bill
- Yearbook photo
The company notes that data that has been uploaded to Facebook as part of the verification process will be deleted after the verification.
The mass lock-out of users is not the first on Facebook. The most recent lock-out that requested users to provide Facebook with IDs to unlock the account again happened in January of this year. The company back then stated that it may ask users for photo IDs depending on the violation that occurred.
Common violations where this may be the case are accounts where either the name or birth date do not match or exist at all (for instance if a nickname is being used), and maybe also at times to verify account ownership after a hacking attempt.
The only two options that locked out Facebook users have is to either comply with the request and transfer a picture of a photo ID to Facebook, or stop using the site altogether.