Facebook Is Now Asking Banks For Data on Your Spending Habits

The social media giant is making the effort amid ongoing concerns about its ability to keep data private

Marcus, who in May was re-assigned to lead Facebook's blockchain efforts, had been focused on forging deals with major banks and payment companies to bring financial services to Messenger. But after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and multiple other privacy scandals, even Facebook's current partners may not be willing to trust the company. The worries around data sharing come as Facebook is under regulatory. I reached out to Facebook for comment and will update this post if I hear back.

The banks asked by Facebook included JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and U.S. Bancorp, while one "large U.S. bank pulled away from talks due to privacy concerns".

Facebook is now facing multiple investigations related to its ties to Cambridge Analytica, the political analytics company that accessed data on up to 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

The financial information asked from the banks include card transactions and checking account balances, according to the report.

Stating that it does not intend to use the data for anything but innocuous purposes now does not necessarily indicate it will not decide to do so later, or that it could have its own other internal uses for the data that don't involve advertising or third parties.

It's not clear if Facebook's attempts to obtain user financial data will be successful or not, but we'll likely find out in the coming months.

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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 dust surrounding the Cambridge Analytica data privacy incident still hasn't fully settled, but Facebook is already looking for additional ways to get its hands on user data.

"We're not using this information beyond enabling these (customer service) types of experiences", Facebook said in a statement.

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

More widely, Facebook users can connect their PayPal accounts to Messenger to track transactions and shipping updates.

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