Facebook does not have the best image right now, with privacy invasion and just a general interference into everything, the social media platform is quickly becoming the most mocked and bashed one.
With the elections nearing soon, people are even more concerned with the platform considering how in the US Presidential election of 2016, Facebook allegedly allowed an outside company to filter through users, use their private data and influence their voting choices.
This created a big dislike towards the platform and in India is has only increased with Facebook’s constant inability to stop fake news and wrong information from spreading.
However, it seems now that the platform is taking somewhat of an extreme step by supposedly doing physical verification.
What Is This Physical Verification By Facebook?
According to reports, Facebook is turning up at users’ house and doing a physical verification of whether or not they made a particular political post or not.
It has been reported that IANS contacted a Facebook user who stated how he was paid a visit by a representative of Facebook who wanted to verify if he had made a post on the platform.
As per IANS, the user said that, “It was like cops come to your door for passport verification. The Facebook representative asked me to prove my credentials by asking for my Aadhaar card and other documents to understand if I am the one who had posted the political content.”
He explained the incident as, “He came in civil clothes with a proper Facebook identity. He asked for my Aadhaar Card to verify my credentials for writing a mere post on the social networking platform with political content.”
He further commented how, “it was a shocker for me. How come a social media platform does that to a user? What about a user’s privacy? I have never heard of any such incident anywhere. Was this at the behest of the government?”
The user who lives in Delhi was asked to show his Aadhaar card and other official documents in order to verify if he had actually made a political post on Facebook.
Apparently, this is an extremely unheard of behaviour, where a social media site itself is doing actual real time physical verification.
It could also result in legal action against Facebook, as Pavan Duggal, India’s top cyber law expert and a senior Supreme Court advocate, was quoted by IANS saying, “This action, if true, clearly infringes upon the privacy of a user. Sending a representative to physically verify a user is a blatant invasion of his or her privacy space. Only the state can act like this under proper laws.”
The only time Facebook can do such physical verification is if a Page or Facebook group wants to run political ads on the platform. Even in that, it is only the residency of the admin of it checked by either physical or postal verification.
How Did Facebook Get His Address?
One thing that is not understood is how exactly did Facebook get the users’ address in the first place.
Suppose we take that this whole thing is true and Facebook really did do this, then it is a grave invasion of privacy of the user and totally not ethically correct.
As per sources, this kind of verification, is not counted under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and as per Duggal, “in such a scenario, the user can sue Facebook and even the government for allowing such activities under its nose that infringes on the privacy of a user.”
The user does not usually disclose their actual address when making a profile on Facebook, the most being the city or state of their residence.
But never a full address, so how exactly is Facebook getting this pretty private information in the first place?
Facebook for their part has denied doing any such kind of verification, where a spokesperson of the platform said that, “Facebook does not conduct any form of physical verification in India, except for an advertiser who plans to run ads related to politics or issues of national importance in India.”
Right now its not evident how true this story is since no other people have reported on this, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing Facebook has done till yet.
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