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Facebook wants you to send a selfie, at least if your account seems up to no good

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The next time something fishy is going on with your Facebook account, don't be surprised if you get a message from the gargantuan social media company asking to verify your identity with a selfie. 

Facebook has been using the selfie verification feature to test for suspicious activity for the better part of a year now, judging from posts on Reddit (opens in new tab) and Facebook's Help Community (opens in new tab) forums, reports The Verge (opens in new tab).

Facebook itself said in a statement that it uses the feature to "catch suspicious activity at various points of interaction on the site, including creating an account, sending Friend requests, setting up ad payments and creating or editing ads."

Judging from the accounts of people who've had to send selfies to Facebook, it often happens when users try to make additional person accounts, which is against the Terms of Service (opens in new tab).


Should you be targeted during one of these checks, you'll find yourself staring at this message: "Please upload a photo of yourself which clearly shows your face. When you send us a photo, we'll check it and then permanently delete it from our servers."

It's an automated process, and it's smart enough to recognize if you're simply using a photo you've already uploaded to your profile. Even if you're "innocent," though, you'll need to prepare for a slight inconvenience as the service locks your account for up to 72 hours while it verifies the image.