Yeah, right… The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook has requested large US banks to open customers’ financial records to offer services via the Messenger chat application.
The social media giant is seeking access to account balances and card transactions because “account linking enables people to receive real-time updates in Facebook Messenger where people can keep track of their transaction data like receipts and shipping updates”.
Banks could potentially benefit from the partnership by boosting their own digital engagement with users. Is Zuckerberg saying, “Get us into finance, and we’ll trade you new accounts from Facebook users”?
Following Facebook’s recent missteps with Cambridge Analytica and Russian election interference, the concept has been met with deep disbelief by privacy advocates. A Facebook spokeswoman explained that the company would not use any information for ad-targeting purposes, nor intend to share records with third parties. However, US banks are reluctant to connect with the online platform, and the idea looks dead on arrival.
The tone deaf nature of the proposal opens questions asked by TechCrunch this week: has Facebook gotten so big that it should be broken up like an AT&T / Standard Oil monopoly, or should Zuckerberg step aside to bring in a new ‘Fix Facebook’ successor?
Image: The Warren Centre
This story is taken from the 10 August 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.