The user authentication process requires that prospective users of the platform take a snapshot of their identity document and upload it onto MOBOfree along with their email and mobile phone number. The company indicated that the process will only take two minutes and confirmation or rejection of prospective users will be communicated within 48 hours.
“By preventing fraud rather than simply dealing with the issue after fraud has been identified, MOBOfree is highlighting its commitment to a safer environment for e-commerce in Africa,” said Cristobal Alonso, MOBOfree’s CEO.
Safety on online classifieds have been a major cause of concern since the Nigerian OLX nanny kidnapping incident in [what month?]. Since then, the company has stepped up its user education activities to help them avoid dubious characters that are always present on such platforms.
MOBOfree’s verification process is optional. However, users who register using the ID verification program will be eligible for additional benefits on the site — the announcement says their posts will be featured more prominently on the site, but not much else. A dedicated ID verification team will then contact members “over the phone or even face-to-face when necessary”.
The release is silent on what happens to unverified users. Is platform safer just because some users get verified, without restricting the actions that unverified users can perform? We have reached out to MOBOfree for comment.
Update: in response to our inquiry, Cristobal said:
MOBOfree says it has a general policy of not disclosing members’ personal information to third parties unless they have consented to such sharing, and that any data acquired from MOBOfree’s visual identification program will not be shared with other MOBOfree users.
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