Fact Check: Facebook Requesting Your Banking Info

Facebook Asks Banks for Your Info
Facebook Asks Banks for Your Info

There is a rumor going around that Facebook wanted banks to share your data, including your transactions and where you’re shopping. The Wall Street Journal is just one of the sources who reported on this issue. But is that really true? According to Facebook, absolutely not.

We’ve seen a lot of “fake news” this year, but this one might just take the cake. What’s even worse is that respected news sources picked the story up and ran with it. We prefer to rely on facts rather than rumors, so let’s get some out there and shed some light on the truth.

Highlights

• Diana (last name unknown), a representative for the social media giant offered a statement that puts an end to the rumors.clarified the rumors by putting an end to them once and for all. Diana states, “A recent Wall Street Journal story implies incorrectly that we are actively asking financial services companies for financial transaction data – this is not true.”
• What’s really going on is that Facebook is trying to offer more services straight from their site. While these services are banking-related, they don’t have anything to do with banks offering your spending information. Instead, the goal is to allow users to get customer support from their banks, manage their accounts, and check their balances all without leaving Facebook.
• Theses services would rely on the messenger system and chatbots, and programs that automate account management systems. None of these services give Facebook access to any of your transactions or spending information that you don’t specifically request.
• If you do request specific information, it will be available and Facebooks systems would retrieve it for you, just as ATM systems do. That doesn’t mean they retain that information.
• Facebook’s representative explains the system, “Like many online companies with commerce businesses, we partner with banks and credit card companies to offer services like customer chat or account management.” She went on to say that the goal is to offer real-time data availability in the form of “transaction data like account balances, receipts, and shipping updates.”
• So is there a difference between the rumors and what Facebook is actually doing? Absolutely. If they are going to offer this service, their software is going to need to be able to access the information, so that they in turn can give users access.
• Probably the biggest difference between the rumors and the truth is that Facebook isn’t storing the data they would be able to access and they aren’t accessing it unless a user requests it. As far as any marketing campaigns go, users might see ads from their banks, but would not see ads based on their specific banking information.
• There are already personal finance sites that have this same access, such as Mint.com. These sites help users by alerting them when their balance is low and sending emails to keep them updated on various services they offer. Facebook’s goal is to keep users on their site, so they can do even more on the platform. Simply keeping users on the platform is enough to make  program like this worthwhile to them.
• Of course, any time you use your banking information online, there is some level of risk. That being said, the biggest concern is how Facebook would keep your information secure from hackers, not what Facebook itself would do with the information you request.
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