Facebook Denies Trying to Access Users' Financial History

Caleb Tolin | August 7, 2018
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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook has approached multiple large banks to access their customers' financial data, such as card transactions and checking account balances, to "deepen user engagement" -- a claim the social media platform now says isn't true.

According to the report, Facebook has been in contact with JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and U.S. Bancorp to try and get users' financial data. The social media company says it's so that they can show you your checking balance in the Facebook Messenger app, allow you to contact your bank in Messenger as a customer service tool, and attempt to develop fraud alert software.

Facebook maintained these discussions were completely centered around the Messenger app, and that data received from the banks would not be sold to third parties for advertisements.

“We don’t use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads,” said spokeswoman Elisabeth Diana. “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, Facebook denies that they are actively trying to access users' purchasing history.

"A recent Wall Street Journal story implies incorrectly that we are actively asking financial services companies for financial transaction data -- this is not true," a Facebook spokesperson told CNNMoney. "Like many online companies with commerce businesses, we partner with banks and credit card companies to offer services like customer chat or account management."

Several of the aforementioned banks have also said they are not disclosing their customer’s banking information.

"We don't share our customers' off-platform transaction data with these platforms and have had to say 'No' to some things as a result," said JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman Patricia Wexler.

"While we regularly have conversations about potential partnerships, safeguarding the security and privacy of our customers' data and providing customer choice are paramount in everything we do," Citigroup told AFP.

Facebook is allegedly trying to compete with other online monetary systems like PayPal and Venmo, especially since the rise in use of the Facebook Marketplace system.