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Facebook bug sin-bins female users

Spam abuse system pops a gasket

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Facebook users found themselves challenged to prove their identity on Tuesday as the social network's system for detecting fake accounts went awry.

The bug meant a significant number of (seemingly all female) Facebook users were locked out of their accounts. Many lockouts were told that they were using an "inauthentic" name, and asked to upload a image from a government-issued ID card in order to re-open their account.

Understandably many long-term users were somewhat nonplussed by this turn of events, with several venting their frustrations on Twitter. Affected users had done nothing to breach the dominant social networks terms and conditions.

Facebook has apologised for the snafu, blaming an unspecified bug in a system normally designed to web out fraudulent accounts set up by spammers and other miscreants, CNN reports.

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.

Net security firm Sophos notes that the glitch made the search term "Facebook account disabled" a hot trending topic on Google. This indicates that even though it is unclear how many people were affected by the glitch, the problems were far from isolated. Facebook is in the process of notifying affected users and restoring accounts. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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