A number of Instagram and Facebook users have reported that they are unable to access their accounts and have been prompted to provide government-issued photo IDs to confirm their identity. It is unclear as to why users are being asked to provide the said information.
The users who are unable to access their Facebook or Instagram accounts have received emails which ask them to provide photo IDs. This, we are told, is meant to affirm and verify the personal information that the users have provided on their accounts.
A Facebook spokesperson explained, “This is just a general practice for both Facebook and Instagram to request photo IDs for verification purposes depending on what type of violation may have occurred. Unfortunately, I can’t share more with you beyond that as we don’t go into details beyond that.”
The social network had launched the measure as far back as 2012, initially promising that it was only testing it out. Now, it seems that Facebook has plans of implementing the feature on a wider scale. From the looks of it, demanding photo IDs can only have two possible motives. One could be to truly determine the real age, nationality etc of a given user so as to affirm the personal details that he has provided on his page.
Alternatively, Facebook can use this information for focused advertising solutions. In the recent spate of similar instances, users are basically being forced to provide the required information which is kind of unfair. Especially, when it comes to Instagram, the service doesn’t even require users to furnish original identity, according to its Terms. And yet when it locks out users to force them to provide their photo IDs, that is not a great marketing strategy.