Facebook Offers Banks Its Users for Their Data

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Facebook has also suggested that it could perhaps integrate banks' fraud alerts or account balances into the app.

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 Wall Street Journal says that JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, US Bank and Citigroup among others have been approached by Facebook to discuss potential offerings it could host on its messaging platform.

'Like many online companies, we routinely talk to financial institutions about how we can improve people's commerce experiences, like enabling better customer service.

The Journal report indicates that banks are hesitant to get on board in part because they want to keep users on their own platforms, like Zelle, a competitor to Venmo and the Paypal-enabled Facebook Payments. "How much more of your personal existence are you willing to give up to continue to be a sieve of your data for a multi-billion dollar corporation?"

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"We haven't shared any customer information or data to Facebook or any other technology platform", said Dana Ripley, chief communications officer at US Bancorp, in an email statement.

Though its stock bumped on news it was seeking big banking partnerships, Facebook pushed back on the Journal's report with what Slate reported was inconsequential counterpoints meant to reassure users about what the objective of the initiative is. But they told PCMag they're quite aware of the privacy concerns, and wouldn't want to jeopardize the security of customers' financial data.

And while the move could help Facebook's user engagement numbers - which were negative for the first time in its history has a public company last week - it comes with a slew of privacy concerns, exacerbated by the scandal surrounding data firm Cambridge Analytica in Spring 2018. For now at least, users have to opt-in to link it to their bank account - a partnership with banks might link users directly to their banks (no word on whether Messenger users would need to opt-in to the service).

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. Spokeswoman Elisabeth Diana says: "We don't use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads". One bank has reportedly pulled out of discussions with Facebook because of the issue. Wells Fargo is "not actively engaging in data-sharing conversations with Facebook", spokeswoman Hilary O'Byrne said in an emailed statement.

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