Lemme see your ID — and your Facebook profile.
Sound a bit ridiculous? Hot on the heels of a fracas in the U.S. over potential employers demanding that jobseekers share their Facebook profiles, the BBC is reporting that bouncers in the UK are now asking bargoers to hand over their smartphones so they can check their Facebook accounts. Bouncers claim it’s an easy way to weed out underage drinkers with fake or borrowed IDs.
“I kind of just logged onto it [Facebook] and showed him the screen and then he didn’t question it any further,” Charlotte Neal, 20, told BBC. Neal said the bouncers checked that her Facebook name matched her license. (You must be 18 to purchase alcohol in the UK.)
“Then I thought, ‘Hang on, is this really how you’re supposed to check how old I am?’ But I was out and I wanted to get in the club so I just agreed.”
A representative from the civil liberties group Big Brother Watch said checking people’s Facebook profiles violates their basic right to privacy.
But bouncers argue that the consequences of letting someone who is underage into a bar are serious, often resulting in large fines. Facebook profiles, some say, offer another form of verification — especially now that fake IDs are very hard to spot.
“Why is it so wrong for people to have to prove the ID is actually them? If you’re not doing anything wrong you shouldn’t have a problem,” one doorman told BBC.
But what if a person doesn’t have a smartphone or Facebook? Does that mean that skeptical bouncers can discriminate against people who lack social media tools? Also, there’s an easy way around the new security measure: underage drinkers could create a dummy Facebook profile, with a name and photo that match those on their fake ID. Although Newsfeed would humbly suggest that if you have that kind of time on your hands, you’re probably better off just staying at home.