ID Verification and the Use of Facebook/Other Social Media

Feb 7, 2013
Posted by: David

I read with interest an article that stated:

"In order to transfer more than USD $250 per week via Square Cash, users are required to submit personal information, such as their Social Security numbers or Facebook account information (which could be bad news for those who are social media shy)."

Whilst in the UK there are many online KYC/Verification services in many countries e.g. France you must either show or electronically send physical documents in for KYC and in markets like Kenya, UAE you need to physically show your documents to a bank or bank agent for KYC. The agent then copies them and sends them onto the bank itself that has to approve you for KYC.

So my question is can social media have a role in this, and if so what. Given anyone can set up a Facebook account how/why is Square accepting it as proof that someone is real. Certainly you can run some clever algorithm’s on the account looking at numbers of friends, usage etc. to determine how likely it is to be real. But Square just accept it is real when you just provide details.

Is this the start of other financial type products using social media as a way of verifying you are who you are, or at least claim to be. I am always told that AML is not only about proving where funds are from/going to, but who they are going from and to and the identification of those people. Does social media provide an avenue going forward for more than just ‘document checking’, in order to prove you are real, could this mean you will need friends and be interacting in social media to be considered ‘real’ in the future?