Facebook wants banks to share your personal finances

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The social media giant is reportedly interested in everything from customers' account balances to their credit card transactions, people familiar with the matter told The WSJ.

Facebook has asked larges U.S. banks to share detailed financial data about their customers in an effort to deepen user engagement on its Messenger platform, according to the Wall Street Journal. In order for Facebook to show users' banking information, Facebook would need to have access to that same data too, which it could then use to improve its ad-targeting algorithms.

'We don't use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads'. The idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone - and it's completely opt-in. "An essential part of these efforts is keeping people's information safe and secure".

The worries around data sharing come as Facebook is under regulatory. You might rightly question why the behemoth that is Facebook should grow to encompass any more personal information about anyone, let alone information as sensitive as bank accounts.

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"Facebook already has mountains of information about our social networks, physical movements, and activity online".

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.

"What you purchase is the ultimate predictor of what you'll purchase in the future".

So far, banks have declined Facebook's offer of a partnership.

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Facebook acknowledged last month that it was facing multiple inquiries from USA and British regulators about a scandal involving the now bankrupt British consultancy Cambridge Analytica. However, she noted some privacy concerns. Facebook last month lost more than $100 billion in market value last month during the steepest single-day trading plunge in Wall Street history.

New features could include tools that help users check their account balances or alert them about bank fraud, according to the Wall Street Journal. But they also said they were stepping lightly because of possible customer concerns about data security and privacy.

In return for financial data, Facebook is offering banks a presence on its Messenger app, sources told The WSJ.

Facebook has denied reports that it is actively asking banks for details of users' financial transactions. 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.

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