Yet again, the social media giant Facebook has been caught with making plans to disrespect its users' privacy.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, Facebook has asked U.S. banks to share detailed data on their customers in exchange for participating in a new service Facebook is planning to roll out to users.
Facebook is aiming to expand its Messenger platform to include more buying and selling of goods and services.
So far, the social network has approached Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and U.S. Bancorp "to discuss potential offerings it could host for bank customers on Facebook Messenger, said people familiar with the matter."
Facebook Messenger has about 1.3 billion monthly active users. PayPal partner with Facebook last year and allows users to send money through messenger.
The social network is considering implementing a feature that shows users their checking account balances, along with offering fraud alerts through Messenger.
According to the WSJ report, "Facebook asked banks for information about where its users are shopping with their debit and credit cards outside of purchases they make using Facebook Messenger."
As banks struggle to compete with payment sharing apps like Venmo, they are actively looking to reach more customers digitally.
Facebook, on the other hand, is trying to recover from the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, where the firm accessed up to 87 million users' data from Facebook without their permission.
This has ignited a fiery debate among lawmakers and has influenced the passing of regulations to better protect users' internet privacy.
In order to save face, Facebook and other tech companies are cooperating with lawmakers to create new privacy laws.
Facebook said that it is "working with policymakers to craft privacy legislation that protects consumers, ensures people are in control of their information and promotes responsible innovation.”
The Commerce Department has been holding meetings on how to handle the privacy issue.
“The goal of this outreach is to formulate a set of principles that enjoy broad support, with the objective of setting high level goals for protecting privacy while promoting prosperity,” said a senior administration official.
But after the recent privacy scandal, banks are hesitant to partner with Facebook.
The social media giant claims that the data given by banks won't be used for ad-targeting and would not be shared with third-parties.
“We don’t use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads,” said Elisabeth Diana, a Facebook spokeswoman. “We also don’t have special relationships, partnerships, or contracts with banks or credit card companies to use their customers’ purchase data for ads.”
However, JPMorgan spokeswoman Trish Wexler said that the company is not "sharing our customers’ off-platform transaction data with these platforms, and have had to say no to some things as a result.”
Author's note: I highly doubt that Facebook wouldn't use banking data to target users with relevant ads. These companies, especially Facebook, have no respect for our privacy or personal data. They just see users and their data as a way to make more ad money.