Facebook asks big banks to share customer details

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.

The social network has asked several United States banks to share customers' financial data, including card transactions and checking account balances, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Facebook has asked large USA banks to share financial information about their customers as it seeks to offer new services to users, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Despite this, Facebook claimed in a statement that the data would not be used for advertisement targeting. "We do not use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads", company spokesperson Elisabeth Diana told The Wall Street Journal. The company has started to feel more urgency to make money from its properties beyond the Facebook social network since saying last month that sales growth will slow and expenses will climb in the next few years - a forecast that sent the stock tumbling 19 per cent in one day.

"It's the most intimate information about our personal behavior possible, perhaps even more intimate than how we comment on our friends' feeds", said Zac Townsend, the former chief data officer of California and a partner at Deciens Capital, a venture-capital fund that specializes in financial technology.

The Silicon Valley-based social network also contacted US Bancorp, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news. But they told PCMag they're quite aware of the privacy concerns, and wouldn't want to jeopardize the security of customers' financial data.

The Journal's report comes as Facebook has drawn increasing criticism over its privacy practices following revelations that political data firm Cambridge Analytica obtained the personal data of as many as 87 million Facebook users worldwide. Examples of this include Bank of America and American Express, which you can text with over the chat service.

'We don't use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads'.

Wells Fargo said in a statement that "maintaining the privacy of customer data is of paramount importance" to the bank.

Facebook has rushed to deny allegations that it is in talks with banks with a view to gathering information about users' card transitions and other financial information. The WSJ reports that Facebook made inquiries to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Does Facebook want your financial data?

Vanessa Coleman

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