Why Did Facebook Just Buy This Company That Verifies Government-Issued IDs?

Facebook has acquired Confirm.io, a startup that verified government-issued identification for third-party businesses. In addition to ID cards, Confirm.io's service also handled biometrics and facial recognition data.

Image: AP

The three-year-old, Boston-based company announced the acquisition on its site, stating that it will shut down as Facebook slurps it up into its empire. TechCrunch first confirmed the news with Facebook.

Facebook sent Gizmodo the same statement that it shared with other outlets: "We are excited to welcome the Confirm team to Facebook. Their technology and expertise will support our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe." But Facebook did not provide a response to Gizmodo's request for comment on what the company actually plans to do with Confirm.io, aside from broadly keeping the community safe.

So what could it be used for?

Perhaps this is just Facebook's latest effort to bolster its "real name" policy. Maybe the company wants to be more careful when handling user identification. Perhaps the acquisition will help Facebook block Russian trolls and prevent the spread of propaganda. Or maybe the deal will help Facebook verify users who are simply having trouble logging into their accounts.

Who knows!? It could be any number of things, ranging from the benign and logical - Facebook wants to hire the talent on the Confirm.io team - to the absurdly dystopian - Facebook wants to create an entirely new form of global biometric ID that will help the company manipulate democracy and control the masses. But of course that's ridiculous, right?

[TechCrunch]