In an effort to provide more services to its users, Facebook has reportedly asked banks to share customer information, such as checking account balances and card transactions, the Wall Street Journal reported. The effort comes as Facebook seeks to become a place for commerce — not just a platform to interact with friends.
Facebook has reportedly discussed finding a way for users to check their account balances, as well as sending them fraud alerts. The social media platform doesn’t plan to share the information with other parties or use the data to target ads to its users.
“We don’t use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads,” Elisabeth Diana, head of global corporate communications for Facebook, told the WSJ. “We also don’t have special relationships, partnerships, or contracts with banks or credit card companies to use their customers’ purchase data for ads.”
The news follows allegations that Cambridge Analytica improperly collected personal data from Facebook users, and reportedly used that information to help elect U.S. President Donald Trump. As far as Cambridge Analytica is concerned, it has made some pretty big claims — namely, that it can take raw personality data from a subset of voters and develop complex models of individuals, which campaigns can then use to target and micro-target voter communities to help move elections their way.
The firm’s most specific (and biggest) claim, however, is that it conducted this advanced voter modeling for the Trump organization during the 2016 election — and that it was on the strength of those data models that Trump was able to turn swing states, like Michigan and Wisconsin, from blue to red.
As those claims circulated, U.S. legislators asked Mark Zuckerberg to testify about Cambridge Analytica’s alleged misuse of the social media platform’s data. Zuckerberg appeared before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce on April 11.