Facebook Offers Banks Its Users for Their Data


Facebook reportedly wants you to check your bank account on its instant message platform, Messenger.

In response to the Journal's reporting, critics of corporate power used the word "dystopian" to describe the push by Facebook, Google, and Amazon for ever-greater access to users' personal information in a bid to boost profits.

The company has reportedly sought information, including card transactions, in order to offer new services to users on Facebook Messenger, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The petition, which went out to numerous largest banks across the country, is sure to draw criticism from many interested in retaining data privacy, particularly in an area as sensitive as personal finance.

Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Monday it is in talks to deepen links with banks and financial institutions, saying it can help the firms improve their customer service.

Facebook has promised that it will not use the bank data for any ad-targeting purposes or in communications with third parties. I reached out to Facebook for comment and will update this post if I hear back.

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It has approached JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and US Bancorp about hosting several offers on Facebook Messenger.

Facebook is now trying to recover from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which significantly damaged the company's image after it was revealed that a London-based firmed had gained access to as many as 87 million users to influence US President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign. It has also talked about sending fraud alerts and account balances in Messenger, the paper reported.

In a statement to the Journal, a Facebook spokesperson said it will not use the new financial data for advertisements. "We also don't have special relationships, partnership, or contracts with banks or credit-card companies to use their customers' purchase data for ads".

"The idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone - and it's completely opt in". Wells Fargo is "not actively engaging in data-sharing conversations with Facebook", spokeswoman Hilary O'Byrne said in an emailed statement.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in May he was rolling out privacy controls demanded by European regulators to Facebook users worldwide because "everyone cares about privacy".