As you probably know by now, Facebook is a virtual playground for scammers, hackers and thieves from every spot on the globe.
And as we all found out during the last presidential election, they’re even using Facebook to spread fake news.
Truth be told, rarely a day goes by when I fail to receive at least a couple of desperate messages from folks asking for help in cleaning up a compromised or cloned account.
Well, Facebook has recently devised a plan that should (hopefully) stop scammers and hackers in their tracks and prevent them from generally using their platform for mischief. This is how it works:
1 – If Facebook has reason to believe that “you” are really either a bot or a scammer, they’ll lock your account and ask you to take a “selfie” photo and upload it for analysis. This is the actual message the person receives:
“Please upload a photo of yourself that clearly shows your face. We’ll check it and
then permanently delete it from our servers.”
2 – After the selfie has been uploaded Facebook will compare it to all the other photos that are already on Facebook.
If the photo is brand new they won’t find a match and they’ll take that as proof that you’re really a human. They might still ask for a copy of a government issued ID to prove that you are who you claim to be, but not in every case.
If Facebook’s scan discovers that the photo you uploaded already exists anywhere on Facebook they’ll flag it as being a copy (i.e. not unique) and keep you locked out of your account.
There are several “triggers” that could cause Facebook to flag your account and demand that you upload a selfie:
1 – Your account is reported as possibly being a fake account by another user.
2 – Your account is reported for sending malicious messages to other users and/or posting dangerous links, either on your own Timeline or on the Timelines of others.
Note: This is yet another reason why it’s a bad idea to forward chain messages you receive.
3 – Facebook’s automated system detects that you’re taking actions that are often taken by hackers and scammers (logging in from different distant locations in a short period of time, attempting to place ads from countries from which fake news tends to be spread, etc.).
4 – Any other suspicious activity or circumstances that might happen to draw attention to your account.
This new “selfie” policy is similar to the one in which Facebook is asking people to upload nude photos of themselves, but it isn’t nearly as invasive in my opinion.
This time they’re requesting photos that only show your face, and the vast majority of users already have plenty of those types of photos on Facebook anyway.
Right now they’re only requesting selfies from users whose accounts have been flagged for some reason, but if this initiative ends up working they might eventually require everyone to upload one.
Bottom line: Hopefully this new policy will stop at least a portion of the hacking, scamming and outright fraud that takes place on Facebook on a daily basis. As they say, time will tell.
What’s your opinion about this new tactic to combat fraud on Facebook? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the “comments” below.
Bonus tip: Click here to read about several scams that are making the rounds right now.
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