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Facebook buys ID verification software firm

Confirm has built software capable of authenticating any government-issued ID using an API and "advanced forensics".

By Sabrina Dougall

Facebook has bought a software company which checks the identity of online buyers to detect fraud.

Mark Zuckerberg’s corporation has announced the takeover of Confirm, which requires authenticates purchaser identity without storing the individual’s personal data. The acquisition comes amid a period of investigation of Facebook and other social media channels for potential Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

“We are excited to welcome the Confirm team to Facebook. Their technology and expertise will support our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe,” a Facebook spokeswoman told TechCrunch.

It is thought the acquisition will aid the social network giant in being able to detect who has purchased of advertisement space on its platform, according to Reuters. The value and terms of the deal were not disclosed to press.

Facebook

Confirm has built software capable of authenticating any government-issued ID using their RESTful API and “advanced forensics”. According to Crunchbase, the identification checker “retains zero personal information” about individuals it verifies.

“We have agreed to be acquired by Facebook!” the company said on its website. “When we launched Confirm, our mission was to become the market’s trusted identity origination platform for which other multifactor verification services can build upon. Now, we’re ready to take the next step on our journey with Facebook.”

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The software identification firm took off quickly after raising $4m in its seed funding round in June 2015, with Cava Capital as the lead investor. Founded by Bob Geiman, Ralph Rodriguez and Walt Doyle, the company today is still very small with fewer than 50 employees. The Boston, Massachussetts-based firm told its current customers that its current software offerings will not be available during the transition.

According to its website, Confirm.io had over 750 clients at the time of its acquisition.

The social media megalith hosts adverts from more than 6 million companies and individuals. Yet in the past, purchasing an ad had few authentication barriers. During recent propaganda investigations, the US government expressed surprise that Facebook could not unmask its ad buyers. In response, the firm said it would do more to verify these customers in future.

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