A bug was discovered on Facebook that locked out many female users and prompted them to provide a valid identification.
Many Facebook users found themselves locked out of their accounts Nov. 16 due to a bug in the social network.
According to Facebook spokesperson Simon Axten, the problem was created by a bug in a system
to find and root out fake accounts. Though the issue was fixed within
hours, the site is still working to restore some of the affected
accounts, Axten told eWEEK.
According to Axten, the site is still assessing the impact of the
bug and could not provide details about exactly how many accounts were
affected, though he believes it to be "only a very small percentage."
"When we detect that an account may be fake, we ask the owner to
verify his or her identity," he told eWEEK in a statement. "In very
rare cases where no other form of verification is possible, we may ask
the account owner to verify by providing a valid ID. This
bug caused people to be mistakenly asked to verify through this
method. We're automatically reactivating these people's accounts and
notifying them of what happened."
The bug apparently only affected female users on Facebook, according to reports.
"Frustrated Facebook devotees turned to the only platform they had -
Twitter - to vent their annoyance at not being able to log into their
account," blogged Graham Cluley
senior technology consultant at Sophos. "What was interesting is that
all of the reports appeared to be from women or - in a few cases - men
mentioning the problem on behalf of female friends and partners."
"Reportedly many of the complaints against Facebook users were that
they were using an 'inauthentic' name, and they were asked to upload a
government-issued ID (such as a passport), ensuring that their full
name, date of birth and photograph were clear," he added.
According to Axten, the bug was unrelated to the new messaging
system the company announced Nov. 15. The new Facebook Messages service
allows people to communicate through Facebook using SMS, e-mail or
chat. Facebook discussed some of its security plans for the new Messages feature here