Facebook is asking some of its users to upload a photo of themselves to verify their identities. This feature isn’t exactly new to Facebook: users on Reddit and in Facebook’s help section have reported that they experienced it as early as April.
The screen prompts users with a 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."
The globally available feature is meant to help Facebook “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,” according to an official statement to The Verge. It’s an automated process that appears when a user attempts one of these activities or is found to have multiple accounts and it only works if the user provides an original photo that hasn’t been uploaded to Facebook previously. While the photo is being analyzed, users can’t log in until Facebook contacts them again in a 72-hour time period.
Update November 29th, 5PM ET: This article was updated to reflect that Facebook uses the feature to authenticate people after suspicious activity and it will not roll out over time.