Facebook asks major US banks to share customer data

Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook

Facebook has asked major U.S. banks to share customer data to allow it to develop new services on the social network's Messenger texting platform, a banking source told AFP on Monday.

They haven't been entirely successful, the Journal added, with at least one bank (JPMorgan) declining due to privacy concerns. The statement, obtained by Ars Technica, went on to portray it as common practice for all companies with commerce business to "partner with banks and credit card companies to offer services like customer chat or account management". Citigroup and Wells Fargo refused to comment.

Facebook has promised that it will not use the bank data for any ad-targeting purposes or in communications with third parties.

"We haven't shared any customer information or data to Facebook or any other technology platform", said Dana Ripley, chief communications officer at US Bancorp, in an email statement.

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But Facebook is still dealing with the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which generated a lot of distrust in how the company manages its users' data.

But word Facebook is fishing for financial information comes amid concerns it has not vigilantly guarded private information.

Shares of Facebook are up just 0.3% since the beginning of 2018 thanks to massive selloffs in March following the Cambridge Analytica saga and another rout last week following a disappointing quarterly earnings report. And those on Facebook have become more comfortable using their credit cards in the news feed because of a product that enables people to ask their friends to donate to charitable causes.

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 objective of the initiative is.

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Shares in the social network have regained some ground and rose 4.4 percent to close at $185.69 on Monday.

A JPMorgan spokesperson told the publication that it wouldn't be "sharing our customers' off-platform transaction data with these platforms, and have had to say no to some things as a result". Facebook likely hopes to capitalize on the pressure that big banks are experiencing to develop partnerships with large online platforms to reach more customers digitally.

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

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