You Will Need an Official ID to Use WhatsApp

You Will Need an Official ID to Use WhatsApp

The popularity of social media has much to do with the ease and convenience it provides to users. It literally costs nothing to open an account on social media channels like WhatsApp and Facebook. This is why these platforms have become such a rage among users. However, with changing times, the ground realities are also changing. In India, there is a lot of pressure on social media channels to make their platform secure for users.

Social media channels are under pressure

In fact, after the new IT act meant to regulate social media was enforced in India, there was a lot of protest from channels like Twitter and WhatsApp claiming that the new law is an attempt from the government of India to curb their privacy and independence. However, they soon realized that they are not in a position to confront, and started giving a thought to making their platforms more secure.

Now every social channel is asking for some kind of official document to verify the account. Therefore, WhatsApp will also ask for official ID from users to verify their accounts. If the user fails to provide that, the account will be most likely blocked. WhatsApp has grown in size and it’s no more just a messaging app. It’s also used for making  UPI payments. Hence, it’s incumbent on WhatsApp to make its platform more secure.

Users will have to verify their account

Now WhatsApp is coming up with a feature to ‘Verify Your Account’  where users will be asked to verify their account. And if they fail to do so, the messaging app will have no option but to block their accounts. However, there is a distinct possibility that once a WhatsApp account is verified, someone may hack your account by using your name or photograph. That makes the verification process even more important.

How to verify an account?

As per a report from beta version, users will have to give their official IDs to verify their WhatsApp account. To do that, users will have to provide some official documents and their details. The documents that will be required to be uploaded could be either Aadhaar, PAN card, Passport, or Voter’s I card.  However, at present in India, no official ID is required for accessing WhatsApp payments. So far, no official announcement has come either from Facebook or WhatsApp as well.

Currently, users of WhatsApp Pay in India can access this facility by verification through their mobile numbers.  As per RBI guidelines, only wallet apps like payTm, Mobikwik, and Bhim app can ask users for KYC verification.  However, UPI-based apps in India do not require any documents to transfer or receive money on Google Pay, PhonePe and WhatsApp. Till this date, there is no definite communication from WhatsApp about when this will be introduced. However, in the beta version, there is a reference to such a requirement. At this point, it is not clear whether it will be implemented in India or some other country.

Security is Important

In the last few years, the reach of social media channels like WhatsApp has risen to an unprecedented level. You will be surprised if you look at the figures of total number of daily active users of WhatsApp in India. If we take the latest data, there are around 400 (four hundred) WhatsApp users in India. Previously, the number of users on WhatsApp was limited as the platform was still growing. The security threat, and the possibility of hacking was also less.

As the platform grew in size and more people joined WhatsApp, the cases of hacking and instances of data theft also increased correspondingly. Therefore, a popular social media app like WhatsApp had to take corrective measures. The proposed mandatory verification of users on this messaging platform should be seen in that light only. The problem is not endemic to popular channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or WhatsApp but also with a regular Indian social media app like Chingari, Koo or 60 seconds.

It’s heartening that now most social media platforms are taking privacy and security seriously and finding ways to fill the loopholes. If WhatsApp is planning a step like this, it will only increase its popularity further. After WhatsApp makes the verification process mandatory for users, other apps will soon follow the suit.

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