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Facebook clarifies on Aadhaar linkage controversy


Reacting to the recent controversy on Aadhaar linkage with a Facebook account, the US-based social media behemoth has cleared the doubt. Facebook through its blog has clarified that it is only trying to encourage new users to use their real names, not link its users’ accounts to their Aadhaar numbers.

The controversy started two days ago, when Facebook started prompt test for new users, asking their name as on Adhaar. The test, which was apparently limited to Facebook’s mobile site did not pose it as mandatory. 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 its blog.

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It also added that the test ran with a small number of users in India and has now finished. As with all tests, the company may learn new things that help us provide a better sign-up experience for people joining Facebook, but it currently has no plans to roll this test out

India is a home to over 241 million Facebook users, which accounts 11 percent of the total users and the largest in the world after it crossed the US six months ago. In the recent time, the linkages with Aadhaar especially by the government have come under public scrutiny due to the debate over user privacy.

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In November last year, former MD of Facebook in India, Umang Bedi had told in an interview 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, added Bedi.

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