Just when people in the country heaved a sigh of relief with the Supreme Court extending the deadline to link their Aadhaar numbers to bank accounts, mobile numbers and various other government schemes, here comes a shocker. Facebook has started testing Aadhaar authentication when it comes to signing up on the social networking site.
In its defence, Facebook has said that it is just testing the move and it isn't mandatory for users to link their details. "What's your name? Using the name on your Aadhaar card makes it easier for friends to recognise you," the prompt read, sending jitters among numerous users.
After the screengrabs of the prompt went up on Twitter, as well as, Reddit, creating frenzy online, Facebook cleared the air and said that it was just a test and nothing was set in stone. "We want to make sure people can use the names they're known by on Facebook, and can easily connect with friends and family," a spokesperson for the California-based firm told the Indian Express.
"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."
Even though Facebook did prompt a few users to key in their names as per their Aadhaar details, it did not ask for other information. However, when the Times of India asked the firm if linking one's Aadhaar to the social networking site could be made mandatory in the future, Facebook refused to comment on it.
This doesn't really seem like a far-fetched idea as in 2016, Umang Bedi, then managing director of Facebook India had told the daily that Aadhaar, in the future, could be used in a lot of ways. "...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," Bedi had then told TOI.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has extended the deadline to link Aadhaar details to one's bank accounts, mobile numbers and other schemes until March 31, 2018. It had earlier asked the Centre to explain why it was necessary to link these documents to the 12-digit unique identification number.