Facebook has bought Confirm, a Boston-based government ID verification service, which Facebook will most likely use to confirm the identities of suspicious accounts in its fight against fake accounts used to spread political propaganda.
Prior to the Facebook acquisition, the startup provided APIs that app developers could embed with their services. The Confirm APIs allowed apps and online services to analyze a scan or photo of a user ID and determine if it was real or fake.
Confirm boasted that over 750 customers deployed its API throughout various products. Some common use cases for Confirm's government ID verification services included onboarding and account creation processes; P2P identity checks; fraud escalation, banking and legal transactions.
The company previously raised $4 million in seed funding two years ago. Confirm will shut down its activity and the company's employees will join Facebook's Boston office.
Facebook's Confirm acquisition makes perfect sense for the world's largest social network, which has been losing its battle against bot and fake accounts.
Facebook currently uses a procedure through which it asks users to upload a scan of an ID or another government-issued document to prove their identity. The process is slow as it requires a Facebook staffer to inspect the scan.
Integrating Confirm's service will automate and speed up this process, reducing the time needed to verify accounts and shut down suspicious profiles reported by other users.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently refocused the company's efforts to fight political propaganda, bot accounts, and fake news on the platform.
The company recently announced it would be reducing the number of news stories on the site in favor of posts from family and friends, and started testing a new CAPTCHA tool that verifies accounts by asking users to upload a clear picture of their face.
In addition, the social network has also deployed a tool that notifies users when someone else uploads a picture of them somewhere else on the site; and has published a Help Center page that tells users what Facebook pages and Instagram accounts they followed that are linked to supposed Russian propaganda efforts.