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Yesterday reports emerged online stating that Facebook was asking new users in India to enter their names as mentioned in their Aadhaar Card when they sign up for an account. However, the social media giant has now clarified that it is not collecting Aadhaar data.
Linking Aadhaar data to Facebook was not something that we were hoping for or looking forward to despite all the ruckus that has been going on lately in the country. Besides, Facebook has said that it ran a small test to help new users understand how to sign up to the social network with their real name and connect with their friends and family.
"Some have interpreted this test as a request for people's Aadhaar information... This is not correct," the company said in a statement. "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," the statement said. At the point of account sign-up, users who were part of the test saw language that said, "using the name on your Aadhaar card makes it easier for friends to recognize you."
The social media giant did not ask participants in the test to provide their Aadhaar number at all.
Meanwhile, the test ran with a small number of users in India and Facebook said it currently has no plans to roll out this test further. "We are not collecting Aadhaar data and do not require people to enter their Aadhaarname when they sign up to Facebook," the company stressed.
Currently, Facebook has over 217 million monthly active users in India and 212 million of them are active on smartphones. It has 2.1 billion monthly active users globally. Facebook-owned WhatsApp has over 200 million monthly active users in India.
But again the Facebook test did come at a time when the government has been constantly asking citizens to link Aadhaard details with their digital lives. The government recently extended until March 31, 2018, the deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts, PAN, mobile numbers and several other schemes.