Facebook has requested customer financial information from a number of U.S. banks without obtaining permission from users, according to a recent report. Included in the requests are credit card transactions and checking account balances for the customers.
Facebook has spoken with JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup Inc. and U.S. Bancorp. Their requests are ostensibly to “help” their users by showing their checking account balances on their Facebook feed, making it easier to sell products and services.
As brazen as this request is, it’s not out of line with Facebook’s insatiable thirst for more and more information about everything and everybody. The information they are asking for is thought to go beyond just that of their members and includes non-members as well, much like their current policy of gathering information from non-members by tracking their visits to cooperating websites.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a person familiar with the discussions said that “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 company is trying to deepen user engagement,” the WSJ reported. “Investors shaved more than $120 billion from its market value in one day last month after it said its growth is starting to slow.”
A Facebook spokesman said, “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.” The spokesman added, “Like many online companies, we routinely talk to financial institutions about how we can improve people’s commerce experiences, like enabling better customer service. An essential part of these efforts is keeping people’s information safe and secure.”
How thoughtful. They’re doing this for us! Yes, we know how well that works.
Read this quote carefully because it’s so misleading. They “don’t purchase data from banks for ads,” but they don’t deny that they purchase data. And who gives them the right to purchase our data and the banks the right to sell it? Oh yes, we do in some of the fine print agreements we must have read and approved at some point. In fact, banks already provide information to credit agencies such as Equifax, and we know how that turned out.
In spite of Facebook’s huge data breach in which they shared the personal information of millions of users, they continue to show no remorse and just keep on finding new ways to sweep up more of our data. I expect them to be continuing down this path until they are stopped by government regulations because shame certainly has no effect. Next on the list, I would anticipate, is that Facebook will be asking for all of our medical records and all of our prescriptions.