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Forgetful passenger boards plane with Facebook profile

John Murray

Businesses that believe social media sites like Facebook and Twitter carry little authenticity should be aware that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) appears to  disagree with them. In fact, according to a Tweet from the co-founder of video content hosting site, a Facebook profile is an acceptable form of identification across the pond.

Zach Klein, who uses the Twitter handle @zachklein, tweeted the following on December 22:

“Got to the airport, realized I left my ID at home. TSA allowed me to use my Facebook profile instead.”

At the time of writing, Klein’s tweet has been re-Tweeted 608 times and favourited 397 times – mainly by dumbfounded Twitter users who are struggling to believe that a nation with such an emphasis on travel security would accept a social media profile as a valid form of identification. Reactions from Klein’s followers range from “I think it’s awesome” to “That’s extremely unsettling”.

The 31-year-old San Francisco-based entrepreneur then looked into things further and posted a link to the ‘Acceptable IDs’ section of the TSA’s website, which states:

“Not having an ID does not necessarily mean a passenger won’t be allowed to fly. If passengers are willing to provide additional information, we have other means of substantiating someone’s identity, like using publicly available databases.”

It does, however, continue by stating that “additional screening” may be necessary in such cases before a passenger is allowed through security.

Klein, who is also CEO of children’s crafts website, has not stated at which airport the incident took place, nor where he was flying to, but his experience is a sign of the growing sense of validity being awarded to sites like Facebook and Twitter. Even so, with this being something of a grey area for the American TSA, Klein might be wise to remember to pack his passport for future flights.

John is every inch the wordsmith and loves a game of Scrabble above all else. With experience writing for newspapers, John’s time at university was spent studying Creative Writing – something which comes across in his love of the pun.

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