Facebook Asks Banks to Share Customer Information

The social media giant is making the effort amid ongoing concerns about its ability to keep data private

According to a report Monday in the Wall Street Journal, the data included such detailed matters as card transactions besides Facebook-related purchases and checking-account balances.

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

One large bank has reportedly pulled away from the discussion due to privacy concerns.

Facebook acknowledged last month that it was facing multiple inquiries from United States and British regulators about a scandal involving the now bankrupt British consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook has reportedly approached several of the biggest USA banks, asking them to share their customers' financial data with the social-media giant. The sticking point for banks, unsurprisingly, is data privacy.

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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. Spokeswoman Elisabeth Diana has said "we don't use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads".

"We're not shoring up financial data", she added. "Account linking enables people to receive real-time updates in Facebook Messenger where people can keep track of their transaction data like account balances, receipts, and shipping updates".

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

Wells Fargo declined to address the news.

In Facebook's worst ever public relations disaster, it admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by Cambridge Analytica, which was working for US President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign. Facebook has pulled in $11.8 billion in advertising revenue in the US and Canada so far in 2018. The information would be used to offer new services to Facebook account holders.

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