Facebook buys government ID authentication startup Confirm

Both companies say Confirm will shutdown its current products and join the Facebook team.

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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg (Image: James Martin/CNET)

Facebook has acquired government ID authentication startup Confirm, amid broader efforts to confirm the identities on its social network to protect users and political elections worldwide.

"We are excited to welcome the Confirm team to Facebook. Their technology and expertise will support our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday.

Confirm is a Boston-based startup that has raised $4 million in venture funding. Details of the acquisition weren't provided by either company. Reuters, who first reported the acquisition, says Confirm's employees will join the Facebook offices in Boston.

"We're excited to announce that we have agreed to be acquired by Facebook! This is the culmination of three years of hard work building technology that will keep people safe and secure online," Confirm wrote on its website.

Confirm said its current product offerings that had 750 clients will be shut down. It offered an API that can confirm a person's identity for any transaction that requires proof of identity using a smartphone camera.

Confirm wrote on its website: "When we launched Confirm, our mission was to become the market's trusted identity origination platform for which other multifactor verification services can build upon. Now, we're ready to take the next step on our journey with Facebook. However, in the meantime this means all of our current digital ID authentication software offerings will be wound down."

Facebook has stepped up its authentication efforts in recent months. It launched a machine learning tool to alert users to imposters using the same profile photo and wants to verify identities of US political advertising purchases.

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