Facebook’s new CAPTCHA: “Please upload a photo of yourself that clearly shows your face”

Nitasha Tiku, Wired:

Facebook may soon ask you to “upload a photo of yourself that clearly shows your face,” to prove you’re not a bot.

The company is using a new kind of captcha to verify whether a user is a real person. According to a screenshot of the identity test shared on Twitter on Tuesday and verified by Facebook, the prompt says: “Please upload a photo of yourself that clearly shows your face. We’ll check it and then permanently delete it from our servers.”

And:

In a statement to WIRED, a Facebook spokesperson said the photo test is intended to “help us catch suspicious activity at various points of interaction on the site, including creating an account, sending Friend requests, setting up ads payments, and creating or editing ads.”

This is somewhat reminiscent of Face ID, though presumably without the machine learning aspect, with zero 3D information (it’s a picture, after all) and, also presumably, with a much slower reaction time.

My two cents: I find it interesting that we have such a splintered approach to security. We’ve got security cams, passwords, fingerprints, iris scanning, and 3D facial mapping, all implemented with varying degrees of success by a wide variety of vendors.

Over time, there will be a tension for standards to emerge, to allow for constant verification. With the obvious dystopian potential that goes along with constant surveillance. This tension is between the requirement to verify that you are you, to validate a transaction, protect you from hackers and the like, and the desire to track you, to mine your habits.

With each new security standard you sign up for, opt into, important to know exactly where that data goes, what it will ultimately be used for.

Side note, here’s the Wikipedia page for CAPTCHA. Interesting acronym.



  • Heos Phorus

    no way I trust facebook with a photo of my face.

    as i haven‘t done that yet, i guess any photo of a celebrity off the internet will do.

    • lucascott

      have you heard about their whole ‘revenge porn’ idea. send them your naked photos and their systems will look for anyone posting them without your permission. but don’t worry the images will be kept secure so no one can jerk off with them.

  • James Hughes

    “We’ll check it and then permanently delete it from our servers.”

    Three years later…

    Um.. no.

  • I can’t imagine how this would work without machine learning.

  • Mo

    Suuuuuuuure, they’ll delete it.