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MENLO PARK, Calif. (CBS Local) – Amid heavy public scrutiny over their handling of private information and data mining scandals, Facebook is reportedly doubling down with their latest information request: your bank records.
According to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, the social media giant has asked several U.S. banks “to share detailed financial information about their customers, including card transactions and checking account balances, as part of an effort to offer new services to users.”
JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and U.S. Bancorp were all reportedly contacted over the last year as Facebook tried to gain access to their users’ private financial histories. One bank allegedly pulled out of the talks over continued privacy concerns surrounding Mark Zuckerberg’s company.
The Journal says Facebook claims the customer records could be used to create a banking service through Facebook Messenger and would not be sold to third parties. “We don’t use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads,” company spokeswoman Elisabeth Diana said. “We also don’t have special relationships, partnerships, or contracts with banks or credit-card companies to use their customers’ purchase data for ads.”
Despite the social media platform’s assurances, their reputation for security has been ravaged in recent months. Facebook is at the center of several investigations over its ties to political analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, which harvested the data of 87 million Facebook users without their consent.
Facebook pushed back against the Aug. 6 report, issuing a statement that states the company does not want “financial transaction data,” just access to account balances or places where someone used a credit card.
“Account linking enables people to receive real-time updates in Facebook Messenger where people can keep track of their transaction data like account balances, receipts, and shipping updates,” according to the statement, obtained by Inc.