Why Does My Facebook Say "For Security Reasons Your Account Is Temporarily Locked"?
By Aaron Charles
Facebook invites small businesses to use Facebook for marketing products and services. Simultaneously, however, Facebook also really wants to crack down on spammers, scammers and anyone else using Facebook for illicit or otherwise unsavory purposes. That means that sometimes, even when you're completely innocent, you'll be locked out of your Facebook account for security reasons. However, there is rhyme, reason and recourse for you.
You're definitely not alone for having been locked out of your account. News stories ran in February and March 2013 about nationwide complaints as a result of widespread lockouts. The CBS affiliate in Philadelphia reported that this could have been because of an update Facebook made to its terms of service in December 2012, but Facebook did not confirm that. Whatever the case, frustrations mounted as users couldn't access their Facebook profiles.
Facebook has community guidelines that are violated on a daily basis. And with roughly 665 million Facebook users taking care of business each day on the site, as of May 2013, it's been hard for Facebook staff to keep up with all the violators. Now Facebook has an automated system that scours the entire network, looking for hints of wrongdoing. If the automated checks register suspicious activity on your account, you could be locked out, forcing you to verify your identity.
In at least one reported instance, Facebook admitted that it made a mistake by locking someone out, which indicates that this is a possibility in your case. Regardless, there are clear steps to take. First, if you're simply locked out of a certain Facebook function -- such as sending messages or tagging photos -- all you can do is wait for Facebook to reinstate your privileges, which could take a few hours or days, according to Facebook. If you've been locked out completely, though, you might need to answer your pre-set security questions. Or you might actually have to prove your identity by uploading a government-issued form of identification.
To avoid a lockout, Facebook suggests that you avoid doing anything that could make you appear as a spammer, such as sending an abnormal amount of Facebook messages in a day or tagging photos in an excessive fashion. Be aware, however, that Facebook isn't clear about the specific actions that could lock you out, since staff don't want people to then try to circumvent the system. Once locked out, you can use the Trusted Contacts feature, which can make it easier to regain access to your account. This entails choosing three to five trusted friends who, in the case of a lockout, will receive a security code from Facebook that they'll pass on to you. You enter codes, this verifies your identity and you get back into your account.
- Digital Trends: Facebook Is Trying To Prevent Scams And Fake Profiles...
- CBS Philly: 3 On Your Side - Facebook Lock-Out Issue
- The Next Web: Facebook Passes 1.11 Billion Monthly Active Users, 751 Million Mobile Users, And 665 Million Daily Users
- Facebook: I'm Blocked From Using A Feature
- Facebook: Use Your Security Questions
- Facebook: Introducing Trusted Contacts
Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."