The issue of verifying genuine users in India is an ongoing issue, which needs urgent attention. Spreading of fake news and fake messages are taking lives, and this has to be stopped.
In yet another attempt in this direction, Govt. of India is considering the usage of mobile numbers to trace and track genuine users.
How will this work?
Phone Numbers Will Be Used For Verifying Social Media Users
As per information coming in, The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) officials are debating on the concept of using mobile numbers as an official tool to verify users.
A Senior Govt. official said, “Verification or authentication through phone number is a very good option. The ministry is considering it and has sought views from stakeholders on the same,”
If it gets approved, then mobile numbers can be made compulsory for all users of Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp; and they can be stored in a database for quick reference in case of any need.
Now, for using Whatsapp, a phone number is mandatory to start with, but then, even after the SIM is removed, the app will continue working based on a WiFi connection.
However, for using Facebook and Twitter, the phone number is not mandatory, and any user can open an account without having one.
Phone Numbers Will Become Mandatory?
In case Govt. decides to use mobile numbers for verifying Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media portals, then mobile numbers will become mandatory for all users.
A scenario will arise, wherein users won’t be able to create a new account on these social media portals, without giving their phone numbers.
This can become a privacy nightmare for the Govt., as they will have to take necessary measures to protect the numbers, and to avoid hacks and leaks.
Another option can be 2-step verification of social media accounts, wherein an OTP is sent to the users, before logging in.
However, this feature is optional, and if Govt. makes the use of mobile numbers as mandatory, then this too can become a mandatory option.
We are awaiting further details, and nothing is confirmed as of now.
Aadhaar For Social Media Accounts?
Last month, reports emerged that Govt. may use Aadhaar, along with mobile numbers as an option to verify authentic users, and to stop trolls from spreading fake news, messages.
One official had said, “These details needn’t pop up each time with my account, but there should be some way for law enforcement agencies or at least for the platform to verify that I am who I claim to be.”
But it won’t be easy to make Aadhaar as a compulsory requirement for using social media accounts, but a mobile number seems a better option – Especially now, since getting a SIM card without a valid ID is an impossible task these days.
We will keep you updated, as more details come in.