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

TECH BREAK: Facebook asks big banks to share customer details

TECH BREAK: Facebook asks big banks to share customer details

Facebook maintains that if it gets the data from banks, it will use it to offer services that encourage people to spend more time on Messenger, and will not use it to target ads or share with third parties. Facebook is reportedly in the market for card transaction data and current account information. One bank, not named, has reportedly pulled out of the discussions for privacy concerns.

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. Earlier this year, Facebook executives were forced to apologize after the personal data of as many as 87 million people ended up in the hands of a United Kingdom political consultancy.

Facebook's pushback comes as it's still reeling from the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

FBN's Stuart Varney, Ashley Webster and Liz MacDonald on reports Facebook is asking banks for financial information about their customers.

"The idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone - and it's completely opt-in", the spokesperson said, adding that keeping people's information safe is critical to its partnerships with any banking institutions.

The primary concern among many banks and individual customers with regards to Facebook's latest attempts at expansion is data privacy.

At any rate, according to the WSJ, Facebook is not interested in using any data it would gain from banks for ad-targeting purposes.

"We're not using this information beyond enabling these (customer service) types of experiences", Facebook said in a statement.

According to the report, Facebook has asked banks "to discuss potential offerings it could host for bank customers on Facebook Messenger", as well as offer a feature to display checking account balances. Facebook's payments product was given lower than average marks on data privacy, which measures data control, collection, retention and deletion. 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.

Wells Fargo declined to address the news.

Diana further explained that account linking is already live with PayPal, Citi in Singapore, and American Express in the United States.

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