Facebook’s bet on digital identity and why it matters

Facebook has acquired Confirm, an identity verification startup based in Boston.

The takeaway? Digital identity is no longer an overlooked back office function. Today, in an age of fake news and fake users, it’s front and center.

Who is Confirm

According to TechCrunch:

Confirm.io had raised at least $4 million from investors, including Cava Capital, since launching three years ago. The 2015 seed round funded advanced forensics used to pull information from an ID card, as well as mobile biometrics and facial recognition to confirm a person’s identity before the startup deleted the personal data.

Clients could quickly integrate the tech, which expedited on-demand startup staff onboarding. Food delivery service Doordash used Confirm.io to verify its drivers, while Notarize used it to authenticate the identity of customers looking to file documents.

What does Facebook want with Confirm

Facebook is getting serious about identity, and why not? It’s central to the social network’s functionality, whether that means streamlining the user experience or expanding into other areas of profits such as payments and their marketplace.

Bolstering their digital identity systems could also be a way for Facebook to combat broader issues like fake news and fake users.

As the NYTimes reported over recently, Facebook, like other social networks, has a huge and glaring fake user problem.

Why it matters

As big tech companies and financial institutions face the rising tide of greater social and government scrutiny and oversight, more and more are waking up to the importance of digital identity (along with the digital identity verification tools and technologies that support these platforms) — and why getting it right is pivotal to their future success.

Still, this bit of news is just the first step. Facebook’s aboutface on its own timeline — pivoting away from a focus on news articles — shows that users and society at large are becoming skeptical of a single company holding so much power over their lives.

Facebook upping its identity game will have numerous benefits for its users. But we continue to believe that the biggest impact in the space will come from a neutral identity platform — one in which users still get those aforementioned benefits but at the same time, maintain control and ownership over their digital identity, and in turn, their own destiny. That’s the globaliD vision.