Facebook has asked larges USA 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.
Citigroup acknowledged holding talks with Facebook but declined to comment on its willingness to share information about bank card transactions, checking account balances, and geolocation of purchases made by their customers. "An essential part of these efforts is keeping people's information safe and secure".
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But word Facebook is fishing for financial information comes amid concerns it has not vigilantly guarded private information.
Facebook is now trying to recover from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which significantly damaged the company's image after it was revealed that a London-based firmed had gained access to as many as 87 million users to influence US President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.
A Facebook spokeswoman said the company could see some financial information from such users if they choose to opt-in, but did not use it for "advertising or anything else".
Shares of Menlo Park, California-based Facebook ended the day up 4.5 percent at $185.69. As the Journal wrote, one source said that the data "could be used to offer services that might entice users to spend more time on Messenger".
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A JPMorgan spokesperson said that the company is not sharing its customers' transaction details with these third parties.
Though its stock bumped on news it was seeking big banking partnerships, Facebook pushed back on the Journal's report with what Slate reported was inconsequential counterpoints meant to reassure users about what the goal of the initiative is.
Though the identity of that bank is unknown, it's not a surprise that some of Facebook's potential partners would be a bit leery of the company's business practices. However, Facebook received good marks for "offering detailed terms of service and end-user agreements that explain how they use consumers' data", Consumer Reports said.
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