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

Facebook Wants Banks to Hand Over Your Financial Information

Facebook Wants Banks to Hand Over Your Financial Information

Facebook has reportedly asked a number of U.S. 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. Facebook has 1.3 billion users.

But according to the Journal, financial institutions are reluctant to partner with the social network over privacy concerns.

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.

Facebook said some users opted in to accessing some financial information in its Messenger app.

Facebook, which has faced intense criticism for sharing user data with many app developers, was interested in information including bank card transactions, checking account balances, and where purchases were made, according to the source. Spokeswoman Elisabeth Diana has said "we don't use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads". "A recent Wall Street Journal story implies incorrectly that we are actively asking financial services companies for financial transaction data - this is not true", the company said in an email.

A JPMorgan spokesperson told the publication that it wouldn't be "sharing our customers' off-platform transaction data with these platforms, and have had to say no to some things as a result". "The privacy and protection of our customers' personal information and data is our highest priority", he added.

From Facebook's perspective, the company believes that more customer information means more targeted efforts at engaging its user base. Meanwhile, Facebook is asking banks to team up so that users will want to spend most time on Messenger (because too many leave to go check their account balances on banking sites?). At least one has cited concerns over customers' privacy.

What that means is that if you're anxious about Facebook having any connection with banks, the WSJ's report should alarm you.

While "data privacy" remains the "sticking point" for the banks, JPMorgan was forced to distance itself away from the negotiations despite reassurances from the company that Facebook would not share the private data with third parties. Last year, Wells Fargo said its chatbot on Messenger could enable customers to see how much they spent on certain items in a specific time period or find the location of the nearest ATM.

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