Why Facebook is seeking bank details of customers from major US banks?

Facebook Logo. (File Photo: IANS)

While the privacy of users on Facebook continues to still be a concern for many, the social networking website is now seeking customer details of major US-based banks in a bid to boost user engagement.

According to a statement given by a source in the banking sector to AFP, Facebook has approached Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and US Bancorp, though was unable to hold discussions with the latter.

The company intends to facilitate bank alerts on fraudulent practices and account balance alerts via Facebook Messenger, Engadget reported. They have sought the customer details to design new services for the messaging platform, which has over 1.3 billion users.

The social networking giant's statement to AFP has confirmed the news and said, "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 idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone -- and it's completely opt-in."

According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook wants to incorporate users' banking information into Messenger to allow users to chat with banks and eliminate the hassle of staying on hold with customer services.

While Wells Fargo refused to comment, JP Morgan and Citibank stressed that protecting customers' data is paramount, according to an NDTV report.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal left a cloud of mistrust hanging over the social networking website with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg going on record to admit private information of up to 87 million users could have been leaked and misused. While they did ramp up the privacy guidelines, it has failed to win back the users who deleted their accounts.

While Facebook has clarified that it has no intention of using the personal bank data for anything apart from offering a smooth banking experience via the messaging app, the news is bound to raise concerns regardless.

Facebook's statement to AFP further adds: "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."

The Cambridge Analytica scandal left Facebook in bad shape with many users boycotting the social networking website over failing to secure user privacy.

Just a few days ago, the company's shares took a major hit, clearing out close to $100 billion, shortly after founder Mark Zuckerberg lost a staggering $15 billion in just a day's time towards the end of July.

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