Facebook has raised more than a few eyebrows following reports that it is seeking deals with major banks that could see it gain access to users’ personal financial data.
The social media giant has reached out to banks including JP Morgan Chase, American Express and Citigroup to pitch “potential offerings it could host for bank customers on Facebook Messenger”, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
However, in response, Facebook has refuted the claim, insisting the move is part of a new initiative to add balance checking and fraud alert features to its Messenger and instant messaging platform.
Facebook said that “like many online companies with commerce businesses, we partner with banks and credit card companies to offer services like customer chat or account management”.
The company claims that the idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone – and it is completely opt-in.
“We’re not using this information beyond enabling these types of experiences – not for advertising or anything else. A critical part of these partnerships is keeping people’s information safe and secure,” Facebook added.
Opt-in account linking features of this kind are already in place for PayPal, Citibank in Singapore and American Express in the US Facebook said.
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