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Facebook to some users that “rapidly go viral”: show some ID or be suppressed

Facebook may ask users who go viral and who it deems to be suspicious to provide ID or have their reach cut.

The users behind individual Pages that keep going “viral” on the platform may need to verify their identity, Facebook has announced.

“In 2018, we started to verify the identity of people managing pages with large audiences, and now we’re extending ID verification to some profiles with large audiences in the US,” read the blog post announcing the move.

Facebook could ask the owners of accounts that have their posts consistently going viral in the US to verify their identity. If their ID does not match the information provided in the account, or if a user refuses ID verification, Facebook will decrease the visibility of the account’s posts.

“Moving forward, we will verify the identity of people who have a pattern of inauthentic behavior on Facebook and whose posts start to rapidly go viral in the US,” Facebook said.

If the owner of a selected account also happens to be an admin to a Page, they will not be able to access it until they identify themselves using the Page Publisher Authorization Process launched in 2018.

The identity verification policy expanded in 2019 to include political advertisers who are now required to provide government-issued IDs before posting ads.

The identity verification is part of what Facebook says is the broader efforts to reduce misuse of the platform. Facebook wants to reduce foreign influence in campaigns through the platform (which it was accused of allowing in 2016), but some may push back against the move as Facebook’s track history with privacy may not inspire much confidence when handing over personal identification.

The identity verification may also reduce the spread of what Facebook deems to be misinformation, and will prevent those who share information on the platform from going viral while remaining anonymous. Facebook wants to know exactly who you are.

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