Digital Media

Facebook wants your bank info…. should you be bothered?

Social media giant, Facebook wants to have access to all of your banking information. The social network platform is reported to be in talks with banks in the United States, to have access to the banking details of its users in the country. The move, Facebook says, is to “deepen user engagement” and enable users bank through the platform.
What Exactly does Facebook Want?
For context, what Facebook wants is to have access to all your financial information, including where you are shopping and what exactly, you are buying.
The rationale behind this move is to enable users to be able to transact business and manage their financials, through Facebook Messenger.
Facebook Messenger has, since 2017, been enabled to send and receive money, request payments and send cash, using PayPal in most markets where Facebook has access. Could this be an attempt by Facebook to get deeper into the user’s pockets?
What is Facebook Offering the Banks?
For the banks to be roped in, there must be something of value and enticing enough that Facebook has to offer them.
What Facebook is offering the banks is access to a user’s profile information. This means that with a Facebook profile, you may be able to open an account, send and receive money, make purchases online, among other things, right inside the Messenger app.
Can Facebook be Trusted with your Financial Data?
Facebook has not been very prudent when it comes to managing user data, data protection and privacy. The company has meddled in controversy and scandals relating to user data exposure and breaches, in recent times. An example of this is the Cambridge Analytica saga, that readily comes to mind.
These issues could largely be responsible for its slowing user growth, poor brand perception and massive share price drop, leading to a valuation loss of over $123billion in a single day in July 2018.
In March 2018, Facebook shares lost at least $135 billion, (about 24%), in value following the reported data breach by Cambridge Analytica leaking 50 million Facebook Profiles.
Facebook’s spokesperson, Elisabeth Diana, in a bid to douse concerns about data breaches and privacy issues, said Facebook will not use the data collected to target users for ads or sell same to third parties.
What Next for Facebook Users?
Social media, being data hives, has become key customer acquisition channels and proxy user interfaces, for “non-social” activities, like money transfer and political advocacy and this is set to keep growing.
Following Whatsapp’s release of its chatbot for businesses, (of which banks were the major applicators), in May, it is not too hard to guess what direction Facebook may be going with this plan.
Although this service is planned for the American market and is yet to be launched officially, if successful, Facebook may very well release a similar service in Africa and Nigeria, where a large number of its user base reside.
As social media becomes more and more ubiquitous, one can only expect Facebook to release more integrations and applications for its users – the implications of which may not be known or fully understood in the time being.

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