Facebook Gives Women the Third Degree

A flood of female Facebook users woke up this morning to find their accounts disabled — and the social network demanding government ID to let them back in. Facebook admits there was a problem, but says it's been fixed.

A tipster complained to us about having her five-year-old account disabled "without warning or explanation." She jumped onto Twitter and found scads of other women had the same problem, and we found the same.

Apparently Facebook's software was incorrectly flagging the accounts as frauds. A Facebook spokesman sent us the following statement:

Earlier today, we discovered a bug in a system designed to detect and disable likely fake accounts. The bug, which was live for a short period of time, caused a very small percentage of Facebook accounts to be
mistakenly disabled. Upon discovering the bug, we immediately worked to resolve it. It's now been fixed, and we're in the process of reactivating and notifying the people who were affected.

A "very small percentage of Facebook accounts" translated into a complaint every minute or two on microblogging service Twitter, all concerning female accounts. With more than 500 million users, a small percentage can translate into a city's worth of people.

Many people were told their account names were "inauthentic," according to ReadWriteWeb. Those who wanted their accounts back were asked to send in a scan of government ID, and asked to trust that Facebook, a sometimes bumbling social network, would responsibly delete the data. From a Facebook email, via Boy Genius Report:

Please upload a government-issued ID to this report and make sure that your full name, date of birth, and photo are clear. You should also black out any personal information that is not needed to verify your identity (e.g., social security number).

If you do not have access to a scanner, a digital image of your photo ID will be accepted as well. Rest assured that we will permanently delete your ID from our servers once we have used it to verify the authenticity of your account.

Facebook will delete your ID from its servers, as long as there isn't some kind of bug, or accidental leak, or whatever. Also, you should hope the company has updated its definition of "delete."

[Photo via Shutterstock.com]