QUESTION: I got locked out of my Facebook account and it says that I have to upload a photo ID to get back in. Is this legit?
ANSWER: Facebook is by far, the most popular social network on the planet with an estimated 2.7 billion daily users.
With that many users, virtually everything Facebook does has to be automated in order to deal with the sheer volume and one of those processes is flagging accounts.
There are a variety of reasons that can lead to being locked out of your account that can range from violating one of its rules to suspicious logins.
If their automated monitoring system sees that you’ve logged into your account multiple times from new places, it can also lock the account down to ensure that your credentials haven’t been stolen.
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It’s also possible that someone reported your profile as a fake account or posts associated with your profile as abusive or spam.
If you’ve joined a lot of groups and post to many of them on a daily basis, it’s possible that the system may think that you are spamming users, especially if it’s the exact same post on every group’s page.
It’s also possible you’re being asked to upload identification to verify your real name, as it’s one of Facebook’s terms of service, so using a nickname can cause issues in some cases.
There are a variety of documents Facebook will accept as proof of your identification beyond your driver’s license which are listed in two groups.
Getting locked out, especially for those that manage a lot of Facebook pages or have used Facebook login for services such as Spotify, can become very disruptive.
Fortunately, there is a proactive step everyone can take to help streamline the process if you are ever locked out of your account.
Back in 2013, Facebook introduced a feature called ‘Trusted Contacts’ which was specifically created to help users that get locked out of their accounts.
To set this up, go to settings, then to ‘Security and Login’ and then click the edit button next to ‘Choose 3 to 5 friends to contact if you get locked out.’
In the event you get locked out, Facebook has an automated process that will generate special recovery codes that only your preexisting trusted contacts can access, so you’ll need to follow the recovery instructions carefully.
An important security step that can reduce the chances that your account is ever taken over by a thief is to activate two-factor authentication, which is in the same ‘Security and Login’ menu.
This will register your phone number with Facebook as the rightful owner of the account and send a code to that number whenever you log into your account from a device or location that Facebook doesn’t recognize.
Once activated, this would mean that a thief would not only have to steal your username and password, they would also have to get their hands on your phone while trying to log in.