Facebook testing Aadhaar 'verification' for new users, says not mandatory

  • Facebook testing Aadhaar 'verification' for new users, says not mandatory

Facebook testing Aadhaar 'verification' for new users, says not mandatory

Earlier this week we reported that some users in India were seeing a modified prompt when signing up for a new account on Facebook. The prompt mentioned "Using the name on your Aadhaar card makes it easier for friends to recognise you.' Facebook, according to a report by HootSuite from July this year, has India as its biggest market with over 241 million monthly active users".

The social networking platform further claimed that the goal, apparently, was to "help new users understand how to sign up to Facebook with their real name and connect with their friends and family". "Just what you need @facebook wants you to enter your name as exactly in your #Aadhaar card", he had tweeted. "People were not required to enter the name on their Aadhaar card, and there is no integration or authentication with Aadhaar", Facebook says. Facebook has started testing the use of Aadhaar as an example to encourage new users in India to use their real names on its site.

The social media giant has begun asking the details from limited users as a part of a small test in the country.

The new tools will proactively recognise when a blocked contact tries to send friend requests and messages to someone on Facebook through a new account. Previously, it used to suggest users to use the real name. "This is an optional prompt that we were testing".

Kiran Jonnalagadda, Aadhaar's most vocal critic and co-founder of Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), an advocacy group feels that there is the fear around Aadhaar which is now extending onto Facebook even though Facebook is attempting to do something else. This policy of the Facebook created uproar in the country. More so in India where we end up using only the first name and last name. But the attempt of using Aadhaar - which is now embroiled in its own privacy controversies - as an example to enhance real name usage on Facebook makes it stand out.

Titled "Clarifying Recent Test in India", the blog post was quick to deny any intention to obtain Aadhaar information from its users.

Are there any future plans to make Aadhaar mandatory for registering a new account?