Facebook is pushing back against a report in Monday’s Wall Street Journal that the company is asking major banks to provide private financial data.
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.
Elisabeth Diana, a Facebook spokeswoman, told Ars that while the WSJ reported that Facebook has “asked” banks “to share detailed financial information about their customers, including card transactions and checking-account balances,” this isn’t quite right.
“Like many online companies with commerce businesses, we partner with banks and credit card companies to offer services like customer chat or account management,” she said in a statement on behalf of the social media giant. “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. The idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone—and it’s completely opt-in. We’re not using this information beyond enabling these types of experiences—not for advertising or anything else.”
Diana further explained that account linking is already live with PayPal, Citi in Singapore, and American Express in the United States.
“We’re not shoring up financial data,” she added.
In recent months, Facebook has been scrutinized for its approach to user privacy.
Late last month, Facebook CFO David Wehner said, “We are also giving people who use our services more choices around data privacy, which may have an impact on our revenue growth.”
But should you opt in, your financial data just happens to then belong to Facebook to do with as they please…