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Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

‘Facebook asks big banks to share customer details’

‘Facebook asks big banks to share customer details’

In the article - entitled Facebook to Banks: Give Us Your Data, We'll Give You Our Users - the Wall Street Journal says that Facebook is seeking to "boost user engagement" and feels financial information from banks could help with this.

Facebook has reportedly asked a number of United States banks to share their customers' personal financial information, as the social media giant strives to recapture major losses in user engagement following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

US banks including JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and US Bancorp have been asked to consider potential deals that would host bank customers on Facebook Messenger.

"We're not using this information beyond enabling these types of experiences - not for advertising or anything else", Facebook explained in its statement.

They haven't been entirely successful, the Journal added, with at least one bank (JPMorgan) declining due to privacy concerns. The statement, obtained by Ars Technica, went on to portray it as common practice for all companies with commerce business to "partner with banks and credit card companies to offer services like customer chat or account management".

The talks are part of an effort to make Facebook Messenger more of a destination for online shopping. "Protecting our customers' privacy and personal information is our highest priority". A critical part of these partnerships is keeping people's information safe and secure. But they also said they were stepping lightly because of possible customer concerns about data security and privacy.

So far, banks have declined Facebook's offer of a partnership. Currently, users can send and receive money through Messenger via PayPal, and MasterCard customers can use their card via Messenger with certain retailers.

A JPMorgan spokeswoman told the broadsheet that the bank isn't "sharing our customers' off-platform transaction data with these platforms, and have had to say no to some things as a result".

At any rate, according to the WSJ, Facebook is not interested in using any data it would gain from banks for ad-targeting purposes. Facebook's payments product was given lower than average marks on data privacy, which measures data control, collection, retention and deletion.

A spokeswoman for Citigroup said the company recognizes its customers are increasingly spending more time on social media and it wants to be where consumers are.

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