Facebook wants more bank data to rebuild trust with users

The company has reportedly sought information, including card transactions, in order to offer new services to users on Facebook Messenger, reported The Wall Street Journal. The company is aiming to boost user engagement, particularly with its Messenger service, after Facebook lost more than $120 billion ins market value in a single day earlier this summer.

Citigroup spokeswoman Elizabeth Fogarty said while the bank regularly has "conversations about potential partnerships, safeguarding the security and privacy of our customers' data and providing customer choice are paramount in everything we do".

The social media giant has reportedly had talks with JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and US Bancorp to discuss proposed features including fraud alerts and checking account balances via Messenger.

While reactions on social media to the WSJ were often critical of the report, especially from people already concerned about Facebook's handling of its own private user data, the company was quick to issue a rebuttal.

"We don't use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads", claimed Facebook spokesman Elisabeth Diana.

Facebook says it's been partnering with banks and credit card providers on chatbots and account management over Facebook Messenger.

Does Facebook want your financial data?

"The idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone - and it's completely opt-in", she added.

Facebook's pushback comes as it's still reeling from the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal. An essential part of these efforts is keeping people's information safe and secure, ' Facebook said in a statement.

According to Gebhart, more user information centralized on one single platform also makes information more "vulnerable to unauthorized sharing or leaking" and can make "users easier to manipulate".

Shares of Facebook surged almost 3% following the report.

The investment company's spokesperson Trish Wexler said the firm had refused to share "our customers' off-platform transaction data with these platforms, and had to say no to some things as a result". 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. "Protecting our customers' privacy and personal information is our highest priority".

Vanessa Coleman

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