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Facebook’s Bank Data Request May Affect Small Businesses, Too

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A controversial initiative by Facebook to seek financial information on users from their banks should be closely watched by small business owners, according to reports in Small Business Trends.

In a report on Wednesday (Aug. 15), the publication spoke with Page 1 Solutions President and Owner Dan Goldstein, who warned that Facebook’s efforts to collect users’ bank account information could lead to privacy and security issues for small business owners.

“Small business owners obviously should not authorize their banks or Facebook to share their business banking account records, let alone their personal finance records,” Goldstein said. “If they believe there is good reason to do so, they should do it in consultation with their CPA, attorney and IT professional.”

He urges small businesses to “only deal with reputable companies” when conducting financial transactions online, and to coordinate with specialists on their teams.

“Work with your IT specialist to ensure that you are protected as much as possible and make a point to check back regularly to verify your situation, because technology changes rapidly,” Goldstein added.

While small business owners may be concerned about having their bank account information shared with Facebook, data sharing in the financial services sector is a rising practice as more financial institutions open up customer data to third-party platforms. Advocates say this practice supports more seamless, inter-functional services to business and consumer customers.

But news of Facebook’s request for banks to share data, which first surfaced in The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, raised concerns because of previous allegations that Cambridge Analytica improperly collected data on Facebook users, casting doubt over the site’s ability to protect personal data.

“By requesting access to private financial records of bank customers so soon after the Cambridge Analytica PR debacle, Facebook demonstrates that it is tone-deaf to consumer concerns about the sharing of their private data,” Goldstein told Small Business Trends. “Even if there were no risks that the data might be disclosed or hacked (which is far from certain), it is clear that Facebook has not recognized the seriousness of the issue.”

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