Facebook has acquired up a software company that created tools allowing startups to instantly verify and authenticate driver's licenses and other forms of government IDs. The company said that Confirm's “technology and expertise will support [its] ongoing efforts to keep [its] community safe.”
According to Reuters, Confirm's small sized staff will be joining Facebook. This move makes sense because they firm has already shut down its offices and software offerings. The one main thing we don't know is the terms of the acquisition, and neither companies have revealed those terms as well as how Facebook plans to use the ID verification technology on its platform.
So, the real question is why would Facebook buy a ID verification company? Before you start thinking that Facebook may start asking you to upload your driver's license, there are other uses for Confirm's technology. Reuters noted that Facebook's acquisition of Confirm is “a step that may help the social media company learn more about the people who buy ads on its network.” This makes sense because to buy ads, all you really need is a credit card and no requirement to submit other forms of verification.
If you recall, Facebook admitted last year that Russian troll farms purchases tens of thousands of ads on its platform and were meant to exploit US social divisions during and after the US Presidential Election. If Facebook were to implement a proper verification procedure, it could prevent purchase of ads linking to fake news sources.
Aside from that, the other possibility is Facebook using the technology to authenticate identities of users who get reported for using names other than their legal ones. The social media company can also use Confirm's technology to verify identifies of people who get locked out of their accounts, which is another step to beefing up security for accounts.
Here's what Confirm has to say:
“When we launched Confirm, our mission was to become the market's trusted identity origination platform for which other multifactor verification services can build upon. Now, we're ready to take the next step on our journey with Facebook. However, in the meantime this means all of our current digital ID authentication software offerings will be wound down.”