Now, even Facebook has thought of a new way to encourage the usage of Aadhaar in India. It has started the usage of Aadhaar as an example to users for using their real names while opening the Facebook accounts. This move from the end of Facebook is basically aimed at curbing the number of fake accounts on the social media platform that has crossed over 241 million users in the country, making India the second largest market for Facebook after the US.
Facebook is initiating this process i.e. mobile site by testing the ‘name as per Aadhaar’ prompt when users create a new account. The prompt reads like “What’s your name? Using the name on your Aadhaar card makes it easier for friends to recognize you”. The testing was first detected by users on Reddit and Twitter. Also, here it needs mentioning that not everyone would be able to see this prompt while creating a new account via the Facebook mobile site.
To this, a Facebook spokesperson close to this initiative regarded that, “We want to make sure people can use the names they’re known by on Facebook, and can easily connect with friends and family. 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 recognize them. This is an optional prompt which we are testing, people are not required to enter the name on their Aadhaar card”.
Also, a small percentage of users who access Facebook on mobile is able to perceive this prompt currently. Also, as per the spokesperson, it is not mandatory to use the name as per Aadhaar, just a prompt for users. Facebook, of course, wants the user to use a real name, and this is just one way to encourage this.
It is worth mentioning here that this is a Pilot project by Facebook, where it’s asking its users to sign up on its social network using the names that are available on their Aadhaar cards, without requesting for any Aadhaar details. The move doesn’t raise further Aadhaar privacy issues, and risk of possible misuse doesn’t increase. This attempt at using Aadhaar. which is currently embroiled in its own privacy controversies, as an example to enhance real name usage on Facebook, is definitely praiseworthy.
Even of this Facebook prompt can hardly be seen as something to evoke concerns over privacy since it is not asking for the Aadhaar number, this move is sure to gain attention since the increasingly mandatory use of Aadhaar for various services has been opposed by several activists.