Last week I received an email from a brand that I like and respect advertising a competition they are running. I very rarely enter these sorts of things, but in this instance I decided to go for it.

I opened the link in the email and was directed to a third-party website to fill out my contact details to be added to a new mailing list (the entry requirement for the competition). It’s worth noting that everything was above board - this was a legitimate site that provides competition infrastructure for brands.

On submitting my entry I was presented with the message ‘We could not confirm that you are a real person - use one of the links below to proceed’. Below were links to login to various social media platforms, from Facebook to Twitter, TikTok to Twitch.

I generally do not use social media anymore - LinkedIn being the only one that I rarely login to (and was notably missing from the list of options). So by this particular websites logic, I am not a real person.

Obviously this is meant as a cue to get people to connect their social media account to the platform to share a post about this particular competition, but this insistence on using social media to validate everything feels like an episode of Black Mirror.

Needless to say, I did not enter the competition.