Facebook to start verifying identities of suspicious user accounts

While Facebook has verified the identities of page managers for quite some time, the company has announced it’ll now focus its attention on individual accounts too.

In a quest to curb the spread of misinformation, Facebook hopes that by verifying the identities behind high-reaching profiles, it can better control the content posted to the social media platform.

Facebook will begin verifying individual accounts that show a pattern of “inauthentic behavior.” Unfortunately, the announcement doesn’t expand on what that inauthentic behavior might look like, adding only that accounts with posts that “rapidly go viral in the US” will undergo the new verification process.

If a Facebook user declines to go through the verification process, or the identification materials provided to Facebook don’t match the associated Facebook account, Facebook will reduce the distribution of the account holder’s viral post.

Further, if the person managers a Facebook page, they will also be required to complete Page Publishing Authorization and will be unable to post to their Page until the verification process has been completed.

Anita Joseph and Michele Paselli, product managers at Facebook, shared in the company’s announcement of the updated verification process: “We want people to feel confident that they understand who’s behind the content they’re seeing on Facebook and this is particularly important when it comes to content that’s reaching a lot of people.”

While this move is a step in the right direction for Facebook, it sends a confusing message. Earlier this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed in an interview with Fox News’ Dana Perino that “Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.”

By pushing suspicious account holders to undergo a strict verification process and reducing post visibility or disabling posting abilities altogether though, isn’t Facebook doing exactly that?