It’s all over the news (here) that Russians used fake accounts to buy over $100,000 dollars of ads to influence the 2016 US Presidential election. Fake accounts in this case means that the accounts were not for the people whose names were on the accounts.  This isn’t about people using a nickname/pseudonym like Superman1966 – that’s just someone who doesn’t want to say or use their real name.

Plain and simple – fake accounts are a form of identity theft.

Facebook is not going to suffer in the long run for this – they don’t do much to authenticate the identity of the people who sign up.  Part of that is because there’s not much that can really go wrong if someone says they are someone else – but it’s mostly that until now there hasn’t been a great, low-friction way to authenticate identities – especially at the point of enrollment – and especially given how much people use mobile phones to enroll.

Now it’s really easy to authenticate an identity (confirming that someone is who they say they are).

Low friction (take a picture of a photo ID and take a selfie), and low cost.  No ID or password is even needed to authenticate the identity.  Then from there – a biometric to re-authenticate (the fingerprint you use today for your cell phone is at the software level and is not secure) at the hardware layer takes almost no effort.  If you visit the link for the Token Sale Site below, there’s a link to a short video that describes the entire thing.

Here’s a list of companies that say they are in the identity space:

Civic is literally at the top of the list.  What they do is make it easy to verify the PII (personally identifiable information) about someone.  So if you are applying for a bank account – they need to have the PII of the person applying for the account.  Civic makes it really easy for someone with PII about an identity to share it and to get paid for it and have total control over the transaction.  The do not make an attempt to verify that the person sharing the information is the same as the PII they are sharing.

Uport, is a company that helps people manage and protect their private keys, but they also do not make an effort to verify that the person is who they say they are.

AuthenticID is one company that does check that the person is who they say they are and their solution works both on chain and off blockchain (they started as an off chain company and already have customers all around the world). They are able to help everyone from Facebook to banks when it comes to identity authentication and more complex things like Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations.

We predict fake accounts will be a thing of the past soon.  We are not predicting the outcome of the next election.


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