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Facebook bought a startup that specializes in verifying government IDs

Confirm is joining Facebook’s office in Boston.

A French driver’s license, with a car in the background KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook has acquired Confirm, a startup with technology that specializes in remotely verifying government-issued IDs, like driver’s licenses.

The startup, which has raised at least $4 million, will join Facebook’s office in Boston. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the acquisition was intended to help “support our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe,” but declined to elaborate further.

Why is Facebook buying technology to verify your driver’s license? Facebook will sometimes ask users to send in formal identification if they are locked out of their account, so it’s possible the technology will help with those efforts. Facebook has a strict policy around using your “authentic name” — a policy that’s meant to ensure people aren’t creating anonymous accounts or impersonating somebody else, but also requires Facebook to actually confirm users’ identities from time to time.

That policy hasn’t always been easy to enforce, like a few years ago when a group of drag queens protested outside of Facebook HQ because their accounts had been flagged and removed. (Facebook apologized.) It’s possible that technology like Confirm’s could help with those kinds of issues moving forward, or morph into some other kind of authenticity feature for Facebook’s users trying to protect their accounts.

The social giant is acquiring Confirm’s technology as well as its employees, and Confirm will shut down its existing products. A Facebook spokesperson declined to share details of the deal.


This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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