Social ID Bureau

Pick-up your Social Identity Card!


The Social ID Bureau is handing-out personal identification cards for a limited number of Facebook Social Network citizens, interested in alpha testing.

Be the first among your friends to pick-up your social identification card and explore the future.


What happend? (Update 05/2012)

This project launched 1 week before the accompanying performance in Berlin. It certainly struck some nerves and recieved international media coverage within a couple of days. At the performance we handed-out 150+ "Social Network ID Cards"

Sadly it also recieved legal complaints from Facebook Inc., which is why it's original URL (, the letters "FB" and the Facebook Inc. logo are no longer used in this piece. The project's new official name is "Social ID Bureau". Slide down or click here for a list of selected press reactions.

Can I See your Facebook ID? (Artists' Statement)

With more than 800 million users Facebook is the dominant identity system on the web. When signing-up for new services around the open web it's quite common to use Facebook Connect instead of creating a new user account. People stop ranting on blog comments because they only allow comments connected to your "real name" aka "Facebook Identity" (till the end of time). For the good or bad we are losing anonymity and Facebook Inc. is establishing order in this "world wild web" (for profit, not necessarily for the good of society).

Governments like Germany have released new passports that offer online identity checks as well, but they will likely never succeed with their technologies given the already existing structure of Facebook, powered by lazieness (or convience). The other way around though - A future where a Facebook Identity becomes more important than any governments' doesn't seem unrealistic. This possible future is already half-way there. What is exciting about this, what can be our role as artists and why should one even bother? Let's find out!

Next time someone needs to "see your ID" - How about showing a Facebook ID card instead of the documents your government gave you? On the web this is common practice for millions of people already. Therefore - Forget privacy. The user's next battle is about nothing less but who controls your identity, and we still might have something to say about it.

Update May 2012: Wow!! Much sooner than expected BBC News has broken a story about "Bouncers 'checking Facebook on phones' as identification" - Exactly what I proposed in an interview over at VICE - The Creators Project.


When crossing the border from Canada to the U.S. last summer the border officer jokingly asked me: "So - What is your Facebook Name?" - @tbx

The predecessor of this project is FB Resistance, a series of workshops to encourage people to question the rules and restrictions of Facebook by showing them the basics of web technologies, open data and creating little "hacks" that open new perspectives.

Similar/Related Projects: If you know of any projects related to this one, please send me an email ( or post them in the comments. Everything's a remix! Known projects: The Foebud has given out "Lichtbildausweise" at the CCC Congress in 2011 (Anyone's got a link?).

Update May 2012: A day after this project went viral, someone took the idea along and created a Google+ ID card generator.

The Performance (Berlin, 03/2012)

The lovely secretaries Nadine and Sonja handed-out 150+ ID cards! Let the pictures talk :)

Full photo-set up on Flickr!!!

© 2012 by Michael Wittig Berlin + Tobias Leingruber

© 2012 by Michael Wittig Berlin + Tobias Leingruber

© 2012 by Michael Wittig Berlin + Tobias Leingruber

© 2012 by Michael Wittig Berlin + Tobias Leingruber

Press Coverage (Selection)

[Video] "Facebook killed the identity card? Tobias Leingruber and his artistic vision"
ARTE Creative "The Art Geeks" 03/23/2012
Portrait: "Das Internet gehört uns allen"
NEON Magazine (Stern) 03/2012
"Facebook Bullies Artist into Shuttering Satire of FB Privacy Policy"
FastCompany (Co.Design) 03/08/2012
"Artist Explores Online Privacy And Identity With Facebook ID Cards"
VICE Magazine, The Creators Project 03/06/2012
"Your Facebook ID, please, sir"
METRO Newspaper Netherlands 06/03/2012
[Radio] "Einwohnermeldeamt 2.0 - Medienkünstler [..] inszeniert Facebook-Amt"
Deutschland Radio 03/03/2012
"Unterwegs mit dem Facebook Ausweis"
ZDF Blog 03/02/2012
"Idea of National Facebook ID Card Floated"
NBC Los Angeles, Bay Area + San Diego 03/01/2012
"Die echte Facebookfalle und wie wir wieder herauskommen" [German]
CTRL-Verlust, Blog of digital philosopher @mspro 02/28/2012
"Next Time You Get Carded Try Using a Real Life Facebook ID" 02/27/2012
"Facebook Identification Cards Are Beeing Tested In Germany"
Buzz Feed 02/28/2012
"Jetzt kommt der 'Facebook-Perso' - Kunstaktion gegen Datensammelwut" 02/28/2012
"Get Your Own Facebook, Google+ ID Card"
ZDnet 02/28/2012
"Facebook ID Card: FB Bureau to Take Social Network Mobile"
International Business Times 02/27/2012
"Get Your Facebook ID Card" 02/27/2012
"This Guy is Getting a Jump on the Future by Creating his Own Facebook ID Cards"
The Next Web 02/27/2012

Credits & Contact

About the creator: Tobias Leingruber (@tbx) is an artist and communication designer. His work explores mutual impacts of communication technologies and society. The web belongs to us! Leingruber is part of the Free Art & Technology Lab

Email: | Twitter:

THANKS to: Ela Kagel (Supermarkt) for the perfect location, Paul Steinhilber for putting together the ID Card Generator, Nadine Freischland for her generall support, Sonja K. for handing-out ID cards, Michael Wittig for shooting fantastic photos, Sebastian Schmieg for his support, Aram Bartholl for too many reasons, for breaking this story, for not ripping this thing apart and... the 150+ people that came to become alpha testers of the Social Network ID Card!!!

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