When social networking giant Facebook instituted an identity verification policy, many users were confused and upset by the development. The idea of sharing our cellphone numbers with an internet entity, regardless of its size, flies in the face of everything we’ve been told about identity protection and privacy. If you’ve been troubled by this development and unsure of the ramifications, here are ten of the reasons why Facebook wants to know who you are.
- One Account Policy – Facebook’s policy regarding multiple accounts is very clear: they only allow one per person. By requiring an identity verification, they can eliminate a large percentage of superfluous profiles in one fell swoop.
- Ensuring That Accounts Are Individual – Just as Facebook policies state that each person can only have one active account, they’re also vocal about their stance on shared accounts. In the interest of compromised security, Facebook insists that only one person use a profile or timeline.
- No Pet or Inanimate Object Profiles – While creating a fan page for your pet (or pet rock) is acceptable, an active personal profile for pets, children and inanimate profiles is forbidden. Requiring that each identity attached to a profile be verified greatly reduces the number of incorrectly-built timelines.
- To Avoid Fake Celebrity Profiles – Though they may seem harmless, false celebrity profiles are prohibited by Facebook policy. Reputation management is a priority for those in the public eye, and those reputations can be damaged by the actions of someone posing as a celebrity. By requiring that accounts be verified, Facebook has made it much more difficult to create and maintain these timelines.
- Sex Offender Prohibitions – When a convicted sex offender’s profile is reported to Facebook, they require proof of the conviction before the profile is removed. By verifying the identity of Facebook users, they can ensure that a case of mistaken identity won’t lead to the loss of a timeline.
- Curbing Spam – In the heyday of MySpace, there were more fraudulent spam bot profiles than legitimate ones. Facebook is actively taking measures to prevent a similar problem with spam by requiring an identity’s verification.
- Personalizing Data Collection – While this sounds nefarious, it’s important to realize that most websites participate in some sort of data collection in order to personalize advertising. When Facebook collects information, they’re connecting it to a specific online persona to tailor the experience.
- Identity Fraud Protection – Identity fraud isn’t limited to theft for financial gain; your online presence is also valuable and should be guarded. By instituting the verification policy, Facebook is helping to protect your online presence from anyone posing as you and maligning your reputation.
- To Maintain the “Real Life” Connection – You may have noticed that Facebook asks if you know a person in real life before adding them; this is because they are committed to maintaining the “Real Life” social connection tenets that they were founded on. Verifying an actual identity ensures that profiles belong to real people.
- Memorializing a Profile – When a loved one passes away, being bombarded by reminders of them can make a tragic situation even more upsetting. Verified members of a deceased user’s family can request that a profile is memorialized, which preserves the account but ends notifications that are randomly generated.
Facebook is a constantly-evolving network, with security measures that change periodically. It’s important to be sure that your security measures are customized and that you monitor these settings each time the Facebook model is updated.
Story by Laura Backes