Facebook's Aadhaar prompt was meant to check fake accounts, not to collect user data

 BusinessToday.in   New Delhi     Last Updated: January 16, 2018  | 18:36 IST
Facebook's Aadhaar prompt was meant to check fake accounts, not to collect user data

Even though everything from your phone number to bank account now has to be linked to Aadhaar, Facebook will not be joining this list yet, as opposed to what many users got afraid of recently. After a test by the social media giant in the country got users apprehensive, it clarified that it is only trying to encourage new users to use their real names, not link its users' accounts to their Aadhaar numbers.

Facebook recently tested its 'name on your Aadhaar card' prompt in India which was misinterpreted as an initiative to link Facebook accounts to Aadhaar. Some of those creating a new account on the website recieved a prompt that read 'Using the name on your Aadhaar card makes it easier for friends to recognise you' at the section where they enter their names.

"Some have interpreted this test as a request for people's Aadhaar information when you sign up for a Facebook account. This is not correct," the social media platform clarified in a blog post.

The move was meant to encourage users to use their real names on Facebook and check the spread of fake accounts on the social media platform. However, the prompt was merely additional text and entirely optional. Users were not necessarily required to enter the same name as om their Aadhaar card, nor there is any integration or authentication with Aadhaar, Facebood said.

"The test, which has now finished, merely includes additional language on the account sign-up page to explain that using their Aadhaar name will help family and friends recognize them. We are not collecting Aadhaar data and do not require people to enter their Aadhaar name when they sign up to Facebook," the statement said.

Image: Reddit

The prompt test was limited to a small number of users in India only and has now finished. Facebook recently has around 241 million users in India, making it the second biggest market for the company after the US. "As with all tests, we may learn new things that help us provide a better sign-up experience for people joining Facebook, but we currently have no plans to roll this test out further," Facebook added.

Recently, Facebook decided to demote posts that uses engagement bait to lure in users. The move is meant to check spam posts on the scial media website. Facebook has trained a machine learning model to identify engagement bait by feeding it hundreds of thousands of engagement bait posts and acceptable ones. This way, the model can differentiate between spam and genuine posts.

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