We are not collecting user’s Aadhaar data in India: Facebook

eGovernance, eGovWatch, UIDAI, Aadhaar numbers, Aadhaar, Unique Identification Authority of India

Facebook has clarified that its recent “Aadhaar prompt” was not meant to collect users’ data. The company said the move was to help new users “understand” how to sign up to Facebook with their real name. Facebook labelled it as a “small” test which the social media company says has “finished”.

“There have been a number of reports about a small test we ran in India to help new users sign up to Facebook. 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 test, which has now finished, merely includes additional language on the account sign-up page to explain that using their Aadhaar name will help family and friends recognize them. We are not collecting Aadhaar data and do not require people to enter their Aadhaar name when they sign up to Facebook”, Taichi Hoshino, Product Manager wrote in a lengthy blog post.

Facebook’s controversial move came into the limelight when the company encouraged new users to register their first and last names based on their Aadhaar card. 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.

In a statement earlier, Facebook had said, “This is an optional prompt which we are testing, people are not required to enter the name on their Aadhaar card”. According to Facebook, the test has been concluded and it has no plans to roll this test out further.