Facebook Starts Collecting IDs of the Rich-in-Friends and Famous

Facebook wants to make sure users are who they say they are, but it’s now allowing for the fact that some users are much better known by nicknames than what’s printed on their government ID. The fraudulent use of names is becoming a concern among all social networks, Gabe Donnini, data solutions engineer at Chitika — and it is not limited to globally recognized artists such as Lady Gaga.

Stefani Germanotta might be one of the most popular music performers today but many people still have to think a moment before they realize she’s Lady Gaga.

Recognizing this, and the plight of other people who prefer to use nicknames — or perhaps a blog name — Facebook is putting in place an account verification mechanism for subscribers with a large number of friends.

Facebook’s policy up to now has been to require all users to sign up under their real names. The new system will allow some users to submit a government ID for verification. Then they will be allowed to prominently display their nickname or alternate name — such as a maiden name, for instance — in their timelines. Their official name must also be a part of their timeline, though.

Fraud and Other Factors

Unlike Facebook, Twitter lets people sign up using whatever handle or name they choose. However, it also offers an identity-verification system. Twitter’s process came under scrutiny earlier this year, though, after someone hijacked the name of Wendi Deng, wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and sent out tweets pretending to be her.

In general, social media networks have been focusing more on the issue of verification for popular or famous users, Gabe Donnini, data solutions engineer at Chitika, told TechNewsWorld. In fact, Facebook’s new policy of allowing famous users to sign up using a nickname was likely developed, in part at least, to get them to show a government-issued photo ID that will ensure they are who they say they are, he said.


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