According to the Wall Street Journal, social media juggernaut, Facebook, is reportedly communicating with American financial institutions to provide consumer’s personal financial information to its Facebook Messenger platform. Some of the data that Facebook is seeking includes transactions and current account balances. The purpose of providing this sensitive information is for offering a broader range of shopping options via its Messenger.
The Wall Street Journal is also indicating that regardless of Facebook’s attempts, these financial institutions are wary of partnering with them due to privacy concerns. JPMorgan, Citigroup, U.S. Bankcorp, and Wells Fargo and Co. are all organizations that have been approached by Facebook. Reportedly, JPMorgan has already announced that they won’t be sharing their customer’s financial data.
Further investigation into the report showed that the discussions included possible offerings that the social media giant could host for the bank’s customers through Facebook Messenger. They also reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that the data collected wouldn’t get shared with third parties, or used to create targeted advertisements.
In a statement to the Journal, a spokeswoman for Facebook has stated that they don’t use purchase statistics and data from financial institutions for ads. The spokeswoman also said that they hadn’t created any individual relationships or contracts with any financial companies for marketing.
Now that the report has been published, Facebook has accused the paper of misrepresentation and insisted that their intention was to create user-friendly features that would allow its members to track their own accounts.
Currently, Facebook doesn’t have access to any financial information that belongs to its members. Only the businesses that choose to advertise on Facebook can add their bank account information for the sake of paying for their ads.
This report comes as Facebook continues to recover from a huge data scandal that involved Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm. The personal information housed on approximately 87 million Facebook accounts was accessed without the user’s permission.
Social media seems to be in an uproar over Facebook’s financial inquiry, the bulk of the outrage coming in the form of tweets.
A scientist from the University of Pennsylvania tweeted out a response to the story and made sure to point out that even though Facebook users can delete their accounts to protect their information and privacy, it doesn’t work that way for bank accounts.
At this time, there is no report as to if Facebook has made the inquiry to only United States financial institutions, or if international institutions have been contacted as well.
Despite this current scandal that is likely to have millions of Facebook users question whether or not they want to keep their Facebook account, the company’s employees have started testing Facebook Dating, which they announced back in May.
Facebook Dating won’t be a standalone app as many people believed, but instead an additional feature that can be found near other categories such as Facebook’s Marketplace. The design itself looks similar to traditional dating sites, with no “swipe-through” function.
The sign-up page, which is all that’s been shown during the pre-launch, has five gender options that include male, female, non-binary, trans-man, and trans-woman. Facebook Dating provides its participants with potential matches based on the information Facebook knows about them.