Facebook has a very stringent identity verification process for political ads (I’ve gone through it multiple times). It’s not a joke. They actually really truly want to be sure you are who you say you are. To address the very problem that everyone has been complaining about. Cambridge analytica, influencing elections, etc. etc.
We don’t have all the facts in the story, but:
1. Facebooks clearly states that if you want to run any kind of sponsored posts relating to political content you have to get verified.
2. That verification can take place in many different ways
3. This person was under no obligation to complete the verification process and can simply say no (and also not be allowed to run ads on Facebook)
4. If anything this shows how seriously Facebook is taking political advertising transparency
5. Can someone please explain to me how this is in any way shape or form a privacy violation?
It’s an etiquette violation. Facebook being Facebook, of course this is something they messed up.
They should have sent an e-mail or verified Fb message saying “as an extra layer of security, we’d like to verify your identity in person—when is a good day in the next week when we may stop by?” (You lose the element of surprise, which gives a bad actor time to e.g. get an Airbnb and print a fake ID, but state-actor level threat models shouldn’t be assumed so early.) Maybe take over a cheap plush animal, or some other swag, as a gift for the user’s trouble.
On one hand, we want Facebook to fight fake news being spread by bots and illegal political ads. On the other hand, we get outraged when they do something as simple as verify someone’s ID. I’m no fan of Facebook, and their sociopathic culture certainly helped bring this to a head, but fundamentally, they aren’t doing anything wrong.
Isn't this a response to _exactly_ that threat? Nation-state election interference activities have been detected around the world.
I don't know why many of you are twisting this and trying to make it seem that this was a verification for a political add, where as the article clearly says it was a personal political post made by the user, and not for any ad!
I can see a problem with this methodology in that most things can be seen as "political", specifically regarding human rights, and in some oppressive communities revealing your identity while promoting human rights is, if not a death sentence, then at least an invitation to harassment from local authorities.
If it is too risky to put ads out under your own name, then facebook's ads are probably the correct place to fight for human rights.
If so I don't think I have a problem with it. If Facebook wants to verify the identity of someone they are doing business with in person - why shouldn't they be able to? It does sound prohibitively expensive for facebook except for huge ad buys though.
No. They wanted to verify if the FB user had indeed posted the political post, and demanded his / her ID to verify the posters "credentials".
> When it comes to those who wants to run political ads on Facebook, the company verifies residency of advertisers either by physical verification (by sending someone to the address provided) or by sending a code in the post.
That sentence in the article is a non-sequitur, and only goes to show that FB verify advertisers. The rest of the article makes it clear that the FB representatives were there over a post. Not an advertisement.
> Only the state can act like this under proper laws
Didn't they just go and knock on his door? Anyone can knock on a door. There's no law against this.
> Anyone can knock on a door. There's no law against this
Again, this happened in India, so the laws on behaviour like this may be different.
The Aadhaar card is the equivalent of a social security card. Imagine a FB team knocking on your door demanding your "papers" because of a post you made. Is that acceptable?
It sounds like they're asking for something and people don't have to give it if they don't want to. Facebook may stop doing business with them, but that's between them and Facebook.
You're talking like Facebook would have arrested them or something if they didn't show it. I'm not sure that's what's going on here. They're just asking for something. Say 'no' if you don't want to show them.
Unless they're showing up repeatedly or at weird hours of day but that's not implied at all. Sounds like it's just a business visit?
Secondly, in what world is it normal for a social media company to knock on someone's door for content they posted on their platform?
If I make a comment in the washington post online section, am I going to get 'business visits' from the moderators? This is entirely inappropriate, apparently not even legal in the country in question, and sounds like something out of a cyberpunk parody.
This is formal political advertising, isn't? That's heavily regulated everywhere I know. It's not the same as posting a comment as an individual.
If you buy alcohol in a shop they ask for ID. Nobody thinks that's crazy. If you want to post a political advert they ask for ID. It seems like all they're doing here is rewording that to 'demanding' and making it sound like a police raid.
No, it isn't. It was a personal post on politics. And from the way many posters here seem to suggesting that this was based on an "ad", it seems to be an attempt to change the narrative from the actual facts.
And as per indian experts, it violates our privacy.
Secondly, when I go to the store I obviously consent to having my ID checked. What has never happened in my life is that I bought something on an online platform, and one week later the company representative shows up and asks me for my information.
It's one thing to enter some place of business voluntarily, it's an entire different thing for a private company to actually pursue me to my home. In fact, the alcohol store owner has literally no idea where I live, because unlike facebook store owners aren't in the habit of keeping track of my home address.
And political advertising is also strictly regulated.
> I hope we're not actually treating speech on online platforms as if it was a dangerous substance.
I don't know if you've been following the fake news situation of the last half-decade... it's a bit of a problem.
> I obviously consent to having my ID checked
I think you do as well when you post political adverts on Facebook, don't you? It's not like posting a comment or a business advert.
> It's one thing to enter some place of business voluntarily, it's an entire different thing for a private company to actually pursue me to my home.
Why do you use a word like 'pursue'? This wasn't a car chase. They just knocked on someone's door. 'Demanding', 'pursuing', you're using language to make it sound like something more dramatic than it was.
The user in question wasn't advertising anything. He was visited for a private post. The mentioning of political advertising in the article isn't related to this case.
Willing to bet money that Facebook is not paying employees to visit people's houses because the government doesn't like a facebook post.
Isn't this what we wanted after the Russian election stuff? We want them to not foreign operatives to be able to place political ads, so they are trying to enforce that rule.
How many of you would have told the guy to f* off, even if it meant losing your FB account?
I wouldn't just tell them to fuck off but call LE on them, it's really not up to FB to send goons to your house to demand paperwork.
For what? Anyone can ask anyone for paperwork. People can just say no. It doesn't really sound like a police matter, does it? (Unless there's different laws in India, but it's common-law isn't it?)
In that context the correct thing to do is report the incident to police, that way the police can, if they get enough reports, raise an alert through their usual channels to advise the populace to be on the lookout for scammers operating in a particular manner.
Call me paranoid, but I always assume anyone claiming to be from <company> or <government> to be a scammer until proven otherwise, and I tell them that: “if I can’t authenticate you then we can’t communicate, and it’s up to your organisation to work out how to do that”.
Yeah, tell them 'no thanks', or just don't answer the door to people you aren't expecting. None of this is a police matter though.
The police aren’t about to send a car out to investigate every report, or probably any of them. But they can and do raise alerts via their website and social media to advise residents of suspicious activity.
Again, this is in Australia, where I live. Known to be the prototypical nanny-state, but it does have some benefits.
How can you even justify this?
We also do not have an adversarial relationship with the police, and they genuinely appreciate citizens reporting behavior that is or could be illegal. Some older family members have been scammed by people at their door claiming to be from utility companies, without an official established policy of companies like FB and others doing 'in person' KYC my first assumption would be that something shady is going on.
However, I did not ever envision that police to be operated by Facebook, of all companies. I was naïvely picturing a rosy future where Facebook would squarely be placed on the other side of legality.
Though maybe that just supports the comment about social engineering and identify theft:
I'm going to go with: No, no it doesn't make any sense at all.
How can anyone authenticate the person coming to their door? That person could be anyone phishing for personal identifying information, or casing the joint.
Probably the best thing do to is say nothing, close the door, and report the incident to the police.
P.s. Chowkidar is the prefix ruling party's followers apply on social media
When I was at school, I remember a student that went abroad that had to get assistance to find new housing after she'd been thrown out by her host family just for receiving a letter from the political youth organization she was a member of at home in Norway, for example (she was a member of Socialist Youth - the youth organization of a mainstream left wing party that has since been part of ruling coalitions, nothing remotely extremist, but too much for her particular host family).
That was a benign situation compared to what might happen if Facebook starts outing peoples political views to people they may have no expectation of sharing their views with, but who has physical access.
I don't this process will survive contact with the real world very long before they get sued.
Through a lot of human history, people have fought for certain views exactly because they faced oppression and immediate risk to their person for those views.
E.g. gay people wanting equal rights in societies where they at times may place their life at risk to come forward.
At one point in the recent past, Chevron had the one of the largest Navies (with weapons) in the world.
Lets say, Facebook/Google/Amazon provides better infrastructure and security services to some community in India than the local municipality can, because it pays more for it, then the community might actually prefer them.
Now the corporation has a foothold, with armed security services, that are more powerful than the state security - and with the will of the people.
Alphabet is dipping it's toe into the water here with Sidewalk labs.
It's not state to state competition like you may be thinking. That's not how this happens. It's a slow creep/encroachment until you realize you're outgunned and the enemy owns the inside of the wire.
Or do you want other countries to invade the US because they don't like what facebook is doing?
Right now, some states in US can't even make their own law enforcement enforce some of the laws their legislatures (or, in some cases, referendums) have passed recently:
We got so abstract in our reasoning about governments and social contracts that we're starting to forget that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun".
Throwaway internet predictions are cheap. Let's back this with cash.