If you’ve ever been locked out of your Facebook account, you know what a helpless feeling it can be. Whether losing access to your account is due to a hacker or you’ve just forgotten a password you set years earlier, there are almost always avenues to regain control. A lot of companies rely on two-factor authentication. They might ask for your cell phone number so they can send you a text message with a confirmation code. Some, like Google, offer app-based options like Google Authenticator that bypass the vulnerable cell networks.
Facebook looks to be taking things in a new direction. In the past, it has asked you to identify pictures of friends or designate a few different trusted individuals that could receive a code to unlock your account. Now, it’s looking into facial recognition. Details are scant at the moment, but we’re getting word from The Next Web‘s Matt Navarra that Facebook has begun testing the feature. When asked for comment by TechCrunch, Facebook provided this response:
We are testing a new feature for people who want to quickly and easily verify account ownership during the account recovery process. This optional feature is available only on devices you’ve already used to log in. It is another step, alongside two-factor authentication via SMS, that were taking to make sure account owners can confirm their identity.
Whenever biometric security comes up, it’s normally a touchy subject. Many find the idea of a scan of their face sitting on a server somewhere just too creepy. Some are worried about the privacy implications if their scans ever leak or would be turned over to authorities. Facebook will have to convince its users that their information is safe in the face of very real privacy concerns if there is to be wide adoption of this new feature. As we’ve seen recently, two-factor authentication can very easily be hacked. Companies will continue to look for other avenues of more secure account verification like biometrics.
What kind of information are you willing to give up to get access to your Facebook profile? What you think about Facebook potentially rolling this out to its users. Let us know down in the comments.