Skip to main content

Facebook may ask you to prove you’re not a bot with a selfie

Facebook Pages
Marcel De Grijs / 123RF
Captcha-designed tests that prove you’re not a robot range from typing in a random series of characters to picking all the photos that contain a certain object — but Facebook is testing a new way to determine if a user is really human: a selfie. On Tuesday, November 29, Facebook confirmed that it is resting a photo-based identity test after screenshots of the test leaked on Twitter.

According to the screenshot of the tested feature, the tool asks users to upload a photo that “clearly shows your face.” The prompt also says that, after the image is utilized, it will be deleted from their servers. The tool asks for an upload, rather than asking permission to access the camera to take a photo right then.

Facebook said that the feature is intended to catch suspicious activity and could be used at a number of different points if the platform wants to verify you are who you really says you are, including creating an account as well as creating ads. Facebook software then automatically reviews the photo. While Facebook didn’t go into detail on the safeguards to prevent the potential captcha tool from misuse, the software does make sure that the image is unique and not a random photo pulled off Google.

Several users expressed concern over sending a photo of themselves to the social media network, while one tweet that was later deleted also suggested that users can’t log in until the software verifies the image. The selfie captcha tool is currently only in testing and it’s unclear if the verification process will actually roll out globally or if the program will change before that potential rollout.

While sending a selfie could make some users uncomfortable, Facebook is working to try to prevent abuse on the platform after a year that saw the exploitation of a number of different vulnerabilities. Research recently proved that many “users” posting during the 2016 presidential election were Russian bot accounts. The updated ad policy in response to that research will ask users who buy political ads to verify their identity and location. While Facebook didn’t say what “suspicious activity” would prompt the selfie captcha, the tool could potentially be used when a U.S.-based user is suddenly shown to be logged in from another country.

The test represents the second time this month that the social media platform has proposed using photos as a security measure — Facebook recently also said users could upload nude photos of themselves to prevent another user from uploading those photos as revenge porn. The images would be “hashed” then deleted from the servers.

Editors' Recommendations

Hillary K. Grigonis
Hillary never planned on becoming a photographer—and then she was handed a camera at her first writing job and she's been…
If you still hate mobile games in 2021, you’re not playing enough of them
A town square diorama in Fantasian.

It's 2021 and I can’t believe we’re still dunking on mobile games.

For more than a decade, mobile games have been something of an industry laughing stock in the eyes of self-proclaimed “hardcore” gamers. They’ve long had a reputation for being simplistic cash grabs that prey on players through seedy microtransactions and overly addictive gameplay. Those criticisms aren’t unfounded; there’s certainly some sinister undertones in seemingly harmless games like Candy Crush. But mobile games aren’t just Candy Crush -- and they haven’t been for years now.

Read more
PAW Patrol dogs will get you where you’re going with new Waze feature
Characters from the PAW Patrol.

Waze likes to roll out fun features from time to time, and the latest one is timed to the launch of PAW Patrol: The Movie.

Aimed at kids, or, more accurately, parents who are eager to keep their little ones entertained on long drives, Waze users globally can now get driving directions from Ryder and his loyal team of rescue dogs.

Read more
Facebook vs. Facebook Lite: Which is best for you?
galaxy s6

Love it or hate it, Facebook has become an integral part of many people's online lives. One way you might be able to improve your social media experience is to look at Facebook’s Lite app (available for Android and iOS). Both the primary Facebook and Facebook Lite apps offer all the main features of Facebook, but the later version is designed to use less network data and will work well on low-end devices. We look at both applications to see which is best for you in this Facebook versus Facebook Lite battle.


Read more