If you've ever forgotten your Facebook password (because who ever bothers to sign out?), you'll know how annoying it is to be locked out of your account. Currently, Facebook uses two-factor authentication to check users are who they say they are when this happens – but it could be about to introduce a new, creepier method.
The company is trialling facial recognition technology to help people recover their accounts, TechCrunch reported. It works by asking users to look into their device's camera and can work out whether to grant you access by comparing your face to pictures and videos you're already tagged in.
“To recognise whether you’re in a photo or video our system compares it with your profile picture, and photos and videos that you’re tagged in,” reads a screenshot from the Face Recognition section in Facebook's Settings, posted on Twitter by Matt Navarra from The Next Web. “This lets us know when you’re in other photos and videos so we can create better experience.”
It may be eerie for Facebook to be so intimately familiar with the contours of our faces, but the site has been using facial recognition technology for years when making photo tag suggestions. The site scans uploaded images to see if it recognises them from your friends' profiles and then suggests a tag.
One benefit of using facial recognition is that it can be used in areas where you can't receive two-factor authentication text messages, such as on a plane or abroad, or if you lose access to your email account, as TechCrunch pointed out. The technology could also be used in future to allow users to find photos and videos of themselves by scanning pictures for faces that resemble theirs, as highlighted by The Telegraph.
While the feature is still in the testing stage and isn't available to all users, it looks likely to be rolled out if it's found to have worked effectively. How long until Instagram, owned by Facebook, follows suit?