Facebook asks major banks to share customer details

Facebook asks major banks to share customer details

A Facebook spokesperson denied the social network had asked financial institutions for transaction data, according to a statement given to CNBC.

Social media giant, Facebook has asked leading banks to share customer data to allow it to develop new services on the social network’s Messenger texting platform, a banking source told AFP on Monday.

Facebook, which has come under intense criticism for sharing user data with many app developers, was interested in information including bank card transactions, checking account balances, and where purchases were made, according to the source.

According to CNBC, the social media company said users of financial firms such as PayPal, Citibank and American Express could link their financial accounts with Facebook’s Messenger and chat with a customer service representative.

The Wall Street Journal further reported that Facebook has over the past year asked JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo & Co, Citigroup Inc and U.S. Bancorp to discuss potential offerings it could host for bank customers on Facebook Messenger.

Facebook has told banks that the additional customer information could be used to offer services that might entice users to spend more time on Messenger.

“The idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone,”  said spokeswoman Elisabeth Diana.

The company is trying to deepen user engagement: Investors shaved more than $120 billion from its market value in one day last month after it said its growth is starting to slow.

Facebook said it wouldn’t use the bank data for ad-targeting purposes or share it with third parties.

“We don’t use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads. We also don’t have special relationships, partnerships, or contracts with banks or credit-card companies to use their customers’ purchase data for ads,” Diana concluded.

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

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 CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in May he was rolling out privacy controls demanded by European regulators to Facebook users worldwide because “everyone cares about privacy.”

Edited by Neo Sesinye
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