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Facebook testing Aadhaar for new users, says it’s not mandatory yet

Facebook testing Aadhaar for new users, says it’s not mandatory yet

Facebook has begun testing a feature with a set of new users in India where they are being asked to enter names as per their Aadhaar details.

The social media giant, however yet, is not asking new users to give their Aadhaar number but just the name as written on their Aadhaar cards.

“This is a small test where we provide additional language when people sign up for an account to say that using the name on their Aadhaar card makes it easier for friends to recognise them,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday.

Currently, only a small percentage of people who use Facebook on mobile in the country are able to see this feature.

“This is an optional prompt which we are testing,” the spokesperson added.

The move is aimed at encouraging users to put their real names as they enter the social network for the first time.

Facebook declined to answer queries regarding the possibility of Aadhaar linkage in the future, and whether users in other countries are similarly prompted to use their real names with specific reference to relevant government IDs in the region. However, sources in the company said a small percentage of Indian users who are signing up for the service on mobile can see this message for now.

In 2016, then managing director of Facebook in India, Umang Bedi, had said that Aadhaar may present “interesting use cases” in the future. “…if a person has an identity on Facebook and has the ability to hook on to a third-party framework for payments, it really is a seamless transition. Today banks are allowing you to authenticate with an Aadhaar digital identity instead of an ATM pin. That is a use case of Aadhaar to remove cash. Aadhaar is just a secure identity. It’s not linked. Facebook is a real identity of people. But over time there could be interesting use cases that emerge,” Bedi had then said. He has since left the company .

Facebook has over 217 million monthly active users in India and 212 million of them are active on smartphones.

It has 2.1 billion monthly active users globally.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has over 200 million monthly active users in India.

The Facebook test comes at a time when the government is asking citizens to link Aadhaar details with their digital lives.

The government recently extended till March 31, 2018, the deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts, PAN, mobile numbers and several other schemes.

Source: TOI