Facebook India is asking new users to register their first and last names based on their Aadhaar card. A Facebook spokesperson, in a statement to indianexpress.com confirmed the company is prompting users to sign-up with their Aadhaar name, as part of a small test. However, entering the same name as that on Aadhaar is not compulsory and users can choose to ignore the prompt, if they wish to.
“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,” reads Facebook’s statement.
Facebook’s new prompt was first spotted by a Reddit user, who posted a screenshot on the site. “Using the name on your Aadhaar card makes it easier for friends to recognise you,” it reads. We at indianexpress.com did not see the prompt while creating a new Facebook account, possibly because this is a small test.
While Facebook insists this is a small test, the screenshots of the social media network asking for the name as mentioned on Aadhaar have gone viral on platforms like Twitter, Reddit.
Some have pointed out that Facebook wanting real names as mentioned on Aadhaar is keeping in line with the company’s policy of ensuring real names on the network. However, others have also raised questions whether Facebook will eventually get access to the Aadhaar API data as well.
Notably, Facebook is not asking users for any other Aadhaar-based information apart from first and last name. The move is aimed at making it easier for people on the platform to recognise friends. It is unclear if Facebook will roll out the feature to everyone. Facebook is one of the largest social networking platforms globally, with over 201 million active users in India. The development comes as the government pushing to mandate linking Aadhaar number with bank accounts, PAN card, mobile number, as well as various schemes.