Why Facebook Carded Some Users

On Tuesday, Facebook discovered a bug: An automated system designed to detect spammers and people with fake accounts spun out of control, and started challenging a wider set of regular users. It disabled some people’s accounts, and asked them send in a copy of their real-world ID.

Facebook said the issue only affected a “fraction of a percentage” of the social network’s users, and they fixed it within hours. The company also deleted all the ID information that some people sent in.

But the incident raised an interesting question: Why was Facebook asking for real-world IDs in the first place?

Unlike some other social networks, Facebook takes pride (and pitches advertisers) on the idea that its users present their real-world selves. But the ID request isn’t part of a broader effort to verify users’ identities–something that sites in countries such as China sometimes do.

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