Facebook ends its 'Aadhaar prompt' sign-up in India after backlash

Delia Walker
December 29, 2017

In a bid to check creation of fake accounts, Facebook is testing a new feature which encourages those opening new accounts to submit their names as in their Aadhaar cards.

Basically, while creating a new Facebook account via the mobile site, the social media platform is asking the users "What's your name?" Facebook says that "it is not mandatory to use the name as per Aadhaar, just a prompt for users". We tried checking, there didn't see any prompt as such.

In a statement given to Gadget360 on the testing of this new feature, a Facebook spokesman said, "We want to make sure people can use the names they're known by on Facebook, and can easily connect with friends and family".

Note that Facebook isn't asking for your Aadhaar number, but just the name as per your Aadhaar card. Previously, it used to suggest users to use the real name.

In the month of April this year, we had published a satirical post, wherein we had created a scenario where every Google search, Facebook account and Tinder swipe was linked with Aadhaar. "So the fear around Aadhaar which is now extending onto Facebook even though Facebook is trying to do something else".

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

Experts highlighted privacy risks of sharing Aadhaar information. Are there any plans make the Aadhaar card the only permissible ID verification document in the near future? Earlier, an online retailer had asked customers to upload their Aadhaar numbers to track lost packages. Similarly, in August 2017, a Punjab government entity published the details of 20,100 citizens on its official website.

In the light of these incidents, any and everything related to Aadhaar becomes a hot topic of discussion. The ensuing media scrutiny seems to have put Facebook India on the backfoot and has prompted the social media behemoth to publish a blog post clarifying the matter. The reason is that UID is an easy way to verify one's account on Twitter and Facebook.

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