I read a surprising story recently in Conde Nast Traveler’s daily, online travel bulletin. An airline passenger who forgot his government-issued ID managed to pass through security after a TSA agent checked his Facebook page.
It turns out the TSA has long had a policy that allows travelers to pass through security using “other means” of substantiating identity, including the use of any publicly available database.
That database I’ve linked to in the previous sentence includes an acknowledgment that the TSA is authorized to use other sources to verify someone’s identity. And apparently the TSA feels social media platforms are requiring enough proof of a real identity that even Facebook can attest to a person’s legitimacy.
I don’t happen to agree with that—last I knew, it was fairly easy to set up a Facebook account using a fake name or photo. But it’s also true that if you are locked out of your Facebook account, you’ll be asked for official proof of your identity. And obviously the TSA puts some credence in a Facebook profile.
Don’t count on getting through security like this, but it can be a last-ditch option.