The Guangzhou government in China recently released the country's first WeChat identity cards, meaning that the social media application will be recognized as an official ID system.
Via WeChat, citizens are now able to verify their identity with facial recognition technology and have it authenticated with artificial intelligence. As of next year, those in China who are registered on WeChat will be able to use the platform instead of their identity cards. The electronic ID cards may be used in the same way as physical identification cards issued by the state, such as for checking into hotels or applying for government services.
As WeChat is a social media messaging platform that's used by the vast majority of the population of China—there are 980 million registered users of the 1.4 billion in China—this new electronic ID system has the potential to deter online identity theft.