Degraded facial check processing
Incident Report for Onfido


On Thursday 17th of May 2018, one of the providers for our facial similarity report started experiencing inconsistent algorithmic behaviour. This affected face match accuracy between at least 13:21 BST and 22:29 BST for the standard variant and 00:32 BST for the video variant.

In keeping with our commitment to transparency, the following is a report of the issue we encountered, the factors that contributed to that issue, and ultimately, what we’ve done and plan to do to ensure we don't find ourselves in this situation again.


On Thursday, 17th of May at 14:40 BST, the facial verification product manager was alerted to an unusual result of face match (carried out at 13:21 BST), where two individuals matched when they shouldn’t have.

At 17:10 BST during our daily automated test run, we saw an abnormal rise in scores from our face matching provider, resulting in failing tests and incorrect face match classifications. We began our investigation immediately and confirmed the earlier report was related to this issue.

At 17:50 BST a first attempt was made to contact our provider via supplier relations. Following no response, at 18:33 BST a formal bug report was logged in the provider’s issue tracking system.

At 22:29 BST we successfully turned off our provider for the standard variant and replaced it with an equivalent in-house algorithm, restoring performance on the standard variant to normal levels.

At 00:32 BST our supplier confirmed they had issued a hotfix, restoring performance on the video variant to normal levels.

Contributing Factors

  • Dependency on a third party service.


To avoid this happening in the future, we intend to:

  • Move towards hourly rather than daily provider availability tests in order to react more quickly in the future.
  • Reduce the reliance on this third party by continuing to develop our own solutions. In the meantime we have activated our in-house algorithm with success for the standard variant as described above.
Posted about 1 year ago. May 21, 2018 - 11:27 BST

Service has been restored for both the standard and video variants of the facial similarity report.

We are continuing to monitor accuracy and investigate the root cause; a post-mortem will follow.
Posted about 1 year ago. May 18, 2018 - 07:31 BST
Service has been restored for the standard variant of the facial similarity report.
The video variant of the facial similarity report is still affected. We're working on a fix for this. Next update expected within 24h.
We are continuing to monitor the underlying cause.
Posted about 1 year ago. May 17, 2018 - 23:02 BST
We have identified the underlying issue and are working on a fix.
Posted about 1 year ago. May 17, 2018 - 21:39 BST
We are currently investigating inconsistent algorithmic behaviour affecting accuracy of face matching
Posted about 1 year ago. May 17, 2018 - 19:19 BST