Facebook Asks Banks to Share Customer Information

Facebook Asks Banks to Share Customer Information

Andrew Cummings
August 7, 2018

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

The financial information asked from the banks include card transactions and checking account balances, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. But after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and multiple other privacy scandals, even Facebook's current partners may not be willing to trust the company.

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".

Facebook has proven time and again that it plays fast and loose with users' data, and while it's not cool for some random third-party to know you check in at Chipotle twice weekly, it's way less cool for them to know exactly how much money you have, especially considering Facebook would presumably need to connect Messenger to the servers of banks to provide this information in real-time.

Citing "people familiar with the matter", the Journal reported that over the past year Facebook has sought out JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and U.S. Bancorp "to discuss potential offerings it could host for bank customers on Facebook Messenger".

Shares of Facebook are up just 0.3% since the beginning of 2018 thanks to massive selloffs in March following the Cambridge Analytica saga and another rout last week following a disappointing quarterly earnings report. Facebook is reportedly in the market for card transaction data and current account information. To do the same with major banks, Facebook has been trying to convince them that the conversations will be secure and customers' personal data won't be used in advertising. Citigroup and Wells Fargo refused to comment.

According to WSJ, Alphabet (Google's parent company) and Amazon have also been in talks with the banks about sharing their customers data to use it to improve digital assistants, such as Google Assistant and Alexa, respectively. And those on Facebook have become more comfortable using their credit cards in the news feed because of a product that enables people to ask their friends to donate to charitable causes. This marks the largest gain since the rapid drop in July.

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