back to article Facebook insists it has 'no plans' to exploit your personal banking info for ads – just as we have 'no plans' to trust it

Facebook has denied it is seeking to suck up netizens' bank account details, claiming it just wants to connect bank customers to their bank's chat accounts and give useful financial updates. On Monday, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the social media giant had approached several large American banks – including JPMorgan …

  1. b0llchit
    Flame

    No wiggleroom to be given

    > We're not saying don't connect your bank account to facebook;...

    Well, then I will be saying don't connect your bank account to Facebook. Don't connect anything to facebook. You should know by now that anything facebook gets its fingers on can and will be used against you. Personalized advertising *is* using your data against you by tricking you and (ab)using human psychology against you.

    And then, even the government needs a good reason to get one's personal financial records. When facebook has a shadow copy, who do you think will be first in line to slurp the data on a side-channel?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No wiggleroom to be given

      But sadly there seems to be a whole host of people who don't see any problem with giving Facebook access to any part of their lives and they probably won't worry about this either.

      1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

        Re: No wiggleroom to be given

        Worse than that. I can easily see a future when it will be (next to[*]) impossible to get any customer service except via Messenger, which will require a FB account, which, even if FB really do not get or store or use any of one's financial data (yeah, right...) will by itself be good for FB's "monthly active users" stats, hence share price, etc., etc.

        Even if only a fraction of customer-rep interaction is delegated to chatbots banks are hoping to make a saving by reducing headcount, too.

        Result: Zuck and other FB shareholders becomes richer, banks cut costs, service becomes worse...

        And all that comes before storing, analyzing, and using the financial data for ads, or at least bragging about your unproven ability to increase efficacy of targeted ads with all that additional info, and before the info is sold to 3rd parties for all sorts of purposes.

        Oh, and what about "shadow profiles"? How certain are we that banks will not provide FB access to our financial details and transactions without even checking if we have FB accounts in the first place? Frankly, I am scared.

        [*] The "next to" qualification is included only because there may be a regulatory regime that mandates multiple customer service channels. I do not expect such a regime to specify availability, maximal response times, or any QoS/SLA whatsoever.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: No wiggleroom to be given

          Whatever the advantages of online services, there are times when there is no real option other than going to a place of business and banging a fist on a table.

          1. jeffdyer

            Re: No wiggleroom to be given

            Is that how you treat your wife?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @jeffdeyer

              I don't hand my work login details or PIN codes to my wife. Similarly I never check her phone without asking. If she wants to know anything she may ask for it, but the request may be denied.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No wiggleroom to be given

          In the same way that a distressingly large number of companies only provide customer support via twitter.

          United airlines and Hertz car rental are two international companies that no longer even bother to reply to emailed or web-from submitted complaints or concerns.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: No wiggleroom to be given

            United airlines and Hertz car rental are two international companies that no longer even bother to reply to emailed or web-from submitted complaints or concerns.

            To be fair, United's standard way of handling complaints is to have some of their goons rough you up, so it's not clear this is any worse.

            (Killing your pet is a premium service.)

  2. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Clickbait on the WSJ?

    I can't believe it! They're not quite to the level of The Sun, but they're getting there.

  3. Woza
    WTF?

    There goes the neighbourhood

    As an Australian, I'm hoping this doesn't have legs - our major banks are dodgy enough already (as per the ongoing Royal Commission) without Facebook added to the mix.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: There goes the neighbourhood

      Sadly, I use the rest of the 5 Eyes as where the US is headed. In this case, it seems we are the leader.

      Additionally, every time I see Facebook in a story, despite killing all non-first party cookies, I kill the lot. PITA, but nuking it from orbit is the only way to be sure.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: There goes the neighbourhood

        If on Windows chuck all the facebook domanins into your HOSTS file.

        Worked perfectly

  4. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Dumb

    Another bright idea from the people who want you to enter your interests so they can echo-chamber bombard you with crap on an almost similar but not quite topic until it becomes annoying.

    The same with people - a couple of days being bombarded by the minutiae of their lives and they become annoying people you'd unfriend in an instant if it weren't for the pesky need to be sociable and not a recluse.

    Now everyone you know gets to know your financial situation with helpful announcements every transaction like it's an amazon shopping purchase, and marks on your timeline noting brankruptcy....?

    Every new idiot idea, I become more of a luddite.

  5. ma1010 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Just say NO

    To Facebook in any incarnation! I have never had a FB account and would much prefer that they not know I exist, much less have my bank sell them any information of any kind about me.

    Who needs FB for alerts? If my bank account gets too low, my credit card too high, or I'm getting close to forgetting to send a timely payment, I get alerts via email. Those work just fine, thanks, without anyone (well, except for the government spies, of course) slurping my data. (And, no, I don't use GMail.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just say NO

      Unfortunately in this day and age where most people don't make voice phone calls and have forgotten how to use e-mail facebook appears to be the standard communication medium for some families, mine included. Since I don't live within walking distance of any of them if I wanted to keep up with family goings on I had to have a facebook ac. I never add anything to facebook and their e-mails get dumped into file 13 by the spam filter. I maybe lookup what the family are doing about once every month or so. There is no way that I will give them any information and when I do log on it always complains that it needs to set cookies (they are automatically cleared at the end of the session) and the browser is run in a VM that has no access to the base machine.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Just say NO

        The rest of us have been badly let down by the Faecebook underclass.

  6. Tree

    Don't trust Facebutt

    When did Facebook become the Brownshirts? When we made them rich.

    Delete your account permanently. Don´t use the excuse that you only post family pictures and thereby won´t be a target. You are a commodity.

    Don´t look back. You´ll live.

  7. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Opt in

    >>it's completely opt-in," the rep told us.<<

    Hands up everyone who thinks the punters will be reminded about this and any other forthcoming new feature repeatedly until they give up and say yes.

    Building just the log of when people access their bank accounts is gold dust to this bunch.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Opt in

      Which brings up an interesting point, is it really "opt-in"? Sure, the whole connecting with messenger or whatever may be opt-in but what about the rest of the data?

      ... approached several large American banks... looking to sign partnerships where they would share their data in return for Facebook connecting its billions of users to their services.

      That sure sounds like they want the banks to hand over their customer's data to Facebook in exchange for Facebook connecting their product users to the banks. As a member of set A (bank customer) and not set B (a FB product user) how am I assured that the only data handed to FB is restricted to A ∩ B? My guess is that I'm not and FB will get all data on set A.

      For a moment I was thinking that smart bankers would recognize this as a bad deal because FB is looking to walk away with data on A ∪ B while the bank only gets access to A ∩ B but then I looked back a few years and remembered that they really can't see much farther than a monetary symbol whether it be $, €, £, or other.

  8. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
    FAIL

    Huh?

    Who the f_ck wants to chat with their bank? I've yet to ever have a chat session ever resolve anything. They always result in (a) phone call to talk to a real human, or (b) abandonment of the endeavor due to frustration. The last institution I'd want to chat with, especially via Facebook, is the one with all of my money.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Huh?

      od (c) walk into my nearby bank branch and talk to real person. Many US banks still have branches staffed with real, live, honest-to-God people.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Huh?

      (a) phone call to talk to a real human,

      You're lucky. Last time I needed to talk to a real person I couldn't find the option I wanted on the usual "press 1 to waste your time" service (no-one had considered "my chequebook was stolen" as a possible problem, it seems). The traditional "hit 0 until the automated system gives up" didn't work, so I finished up selecting the option least similar to my query on the basis that whoever I spoke to would have to transfer me. It worked, eventually.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Huh?

        That's because you have not enough money. I usually get calls from my bank by people who want to meet me in person to help me with my money....

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Huh?

      I wanted to today, voice system wanted to take money out, I wanted to make sure my pay had FINALLY gone through.

      Just mashed the 0 until it offered a person.

      Phew!

  9. Man in a Can

    Give Facebook my financial details?

    Fuck no!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Anyone that imagines Facebook is only seeking to help'

    Facebook runs a propaganda empire rivaling North Korea. In a rare miss-step FB got caught buying medical / patient data in backroom deals with hospitals. There is a much bigger picture here. Facebook / Google want in on the world's data, influencing every decision whenever and wherever data is involved. That's what the 'hard-on for AI' is all about.

    "The world will be wonderful," they say; But from whose viewpoint?

    Does your child get to have the surgery they need? Do they get a place on the college course they deserve? Do they get the job they long for? Do they get a loan to by a dream home? Ask Zuckerberg! As we're all Suckerburgs now 'great leader'. See where this is going? See past the lies / propaganda!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-44793247

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44702483

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-06-29/facebook-and-google-exploit-loopholes-in-eu-s-data-privacy-rules

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-44642569

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44466213

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'Anyone that imagines Facebook is only seeking to help'

      Google already has it, Facebook wants in naturally:

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/24/google_closing_the_loop_comingling/

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-40027706

  11. JustWondering
    Thumb Down

    NAFC!

    Nope! Not a chance. facebook is like one of those brothers-in-law that turn out to be a leech and difficult to get rid of.

  12. cd

    Just logged into a Citi account this morning for the first time, could not do it with locked-down browser, even when I allowed far too much, but since I'd used the card I had to dig out a semi-protected Chromium and watch the multitude of requests, using Little Snitch to select..

    Facebook was one of the attempted connections while just logging in.

    Never had a Fb account and don't want one. I'm notifying the retailer involved and and dropping that card. It's not only bothersome to have to do that just to have an account somewhere, it's also how much bandwidth it takes to snoop on everything, how slow it makes things for no benefit.

    Why aren't the social media owners prosecuted as Peeping Toms, I'd like to know?

    If I spied on someone then showed that they had clicked an obscure agreement some time in the past that they'd forgotten, I guess I'd be off the hook for it, right?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      So chances are they got your account number? Then there will the idiots in the crowd who will go on FB to ask the bank a question and give their account number.

      I'm assuming of course that FB isn't asking for every customer's details... err... crap... now that think about it, they probably are.

  13. Maelstorm Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    Well now...

    Well now, I can safely say, that here in the USA, that won't happen (for the time being anyways) because there a quite a few laws on the books that say that banks must keep your financial information private... I guess nobody told Experian this when they got hacked last year.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well now...

      quite a few laws on the books that say that banks must keep your financial information private.

      I'll bet that none of them have small print saying "unless you're so stooopid as to give the info to FB freely", though.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...it acknowledged that it will store transaction data on its servers but stressed that it will not use that information for targeted ads or product recommendations."

    Cui bono?

    Facebook is sucking up transaction data for a reason. It isn't going to be a good reason for anyone but Facebook.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey facebook!

    Naaaaaaahhhhhh!

  16. revenant
    Thumb Down

    Nope

    I wouldn't even tell facebook the name of my bank, let alone allow it to enter into a data-sharing arrangement with it.

    Finances are too important to let such a profligate data-leaker anywhere near them.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Nope

      Somehow I imagine that you're not going to need to tell Facebook the name of your bank. Apparently there are banks that link their website to Facebook for themselves you.

      So if you have that bank, and a Facebook account, it would seem likely that Facebook already knows about it.

      1. revenant

        Re: Nope

        I doubt that Facebook itself could derive my identity, given that I only ever log into my bank in a fresh browser instance, which is expunged afterwards - no lurking facebook cookies, for instance.

        Of course, the bank could be giving up my info directly - but that would surely be wrong (cerainly not approved by me).

        Perhaps I'm being naive on that last point. However, Facebook knows a number of people with my name and they couldn't know for certain which of us I am (though they might be able to guess which is the most likely).

        I guess I'll know when I start to see adverts for my bank's services ...

        1. LDS Silver badge

          I doubt that Facebook itself could derive my identity

          Directly maybe not, but indirectly maybe yes - the infamous 'shadow profiles' they can build using information other people have on you and share with FB and others. Unluckily, I doubt very little they do,

  17. Pseu Donyme

    This reminds me of Facebook's lying about what they were going to do with WhatsApp's data after the merger (the EU even fined Facebook for this: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/18/ec_fines_facebook_110m_for_wrong_info/ )

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    The old "there are no plans" to do so. " ploy

    Always finished by the (unvoiced) word "yet."

    FB knows how to boil a frog.

    Unless of course someone knocks over the saucepan.

  19. Kaltern Silver badge

    Facebook Fielding Financial Firms For Filching Fund Facts From Follower Fools

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only surprise is it's took them this long, next up medical records so some AI can help you with when you are ill.

  21. James 51 Silver badge

    I remember when the company which own the Opera mini browser swore that it would never use the data gathered from reformating webpages to be better displayed on a phone (which effectively gave it access to your entire browser history, keeping track of which ads you clicked on etc etc). To the best of my knowledge the didn't but they were bought over by a Chinese consortium and I don't remember a single promise being made to respect the privacy of Opera mini users being made during the coverage of the buy out.

    TL;DL is that even if every person in Facebook pinky swore they wouldn't use the data or sell it on and they kept their word, it takes only one manager to change and all that does out of the window.

  22. hoola

    Basic Common Sense

    One would hope that the financial regulators would have something to say about this. Any bank that signs up to this "in the interests of the customer" is just plain stupid. I fail to see any benefit for the user but huge benefits for the endless data grab that Facebook is doing. Facebook execs would sell absolutely anything to anyone to make money.

    The current vomit-inducing adverts on UK television about how "Facebook is changing" are just laughable. Like any big tech (and by inference US based) company. That have repeatedly shown themselves to be utterly untrustworthy with anything but their own money. They will do absolutely anything to duck and dive privacy and regulation. The only people that look to be taking this on are the Germans and possibly Vestager in the EU.

    1. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: Basic Common Sense

      "One would hope that the financial regulators would have something to say about this"

      They'll be as useful as the ICO. Chocolate teapot.

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Big Brother

      The only people that look to be taking this on are the Germans and possibly Vestager

      Don't worry. Vestager will be soon out.

  23. NanoMeter

    Banks getting access to FB data

    This probably means data will go to banks as well. Not sure people would want banks to know everything about them, and then some...

  24. SVV Silver badge

    Conclusive proof they are irresponsible and care not a jot that they are

    Gosh, if only Cambridge Analytica had been so kindly granted access to this data by Facebook as well as all the other personal data, their microtargeting of voters could have been even more effective!

    One almost gets the impression that they're too stupid to think the through the potential implications of this sort of ultraslurping, which is I suppose the impression they wish to give, in order to protest their naivety when called before government committees to answer for the part they played in some future outrage arising from this.

  25. Kay Burley ate my hamster

    Quite funny

    Reading this article without a cookie manager (in my case Privacy Badger) will set a cookie from Facebook (connect.facebook.net). Just saying...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "there are no plans"

    this is either a lie (well, until such plans are leaked they can say what they will), and as a half-truth as "no plans" (well, specific plans), this is another lie, i.e. they clearly indicate they're cooking something. So, there is a very precise plan to harvest more data, sure. It's just unfortunate (for facebook) that whatever talks they hold, they're in the limelight and any facebook story gets picked up by media.

    All that said, I don't think they should fret, after all, a huge majority of their users WILL opt in to just about anything facebook asks them to.

  27. armyknife

    Where's the Harm.

    I must remember to post my bank details and current balance on the outside of my letterbox tomorrow morning.

  28. A Nonny Moose
    Alert

    We're not saying don't connect your bank account to Facebook

    No? Well I am.

    DON'T CONNECT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT TO FACEBOOK!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My (US) bank has yet to work out how to let me make electronic payments to individuals, so I'm not too worried about them providing or supporting API access to FB.

    Not that I would consider in a million years consenting to FB linking to my bank account.

    (Seriously - their bill pay service sends printed cheques in the post to recipients)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Because when this place does what it was built for...

    ...we all feel just a little more violated...

  31. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Jeez, guys, we just want to chat

    it just wants to connect bank customers to their bank's chat accounts and give useful financial updates

    And there's nothing that could go wrong with that. Great to see Facebook inventing exciting new phishing vectors.

    In other news, Facebook has been contacting Nigerian princes with large sums of cash to relocate...

  32. Swiss Anton

    Fantastic Opportunity

    Since FB already know almost every aspect of their punters lives, it can leverage their bank accounts to purchase stuff for them before they've even realised that they needed or wanted it. Gets my vote. I want this! How do I get onto FB?

  33. MeggsChasm

    Who are you and you and you....?

    When people ask my name, I don't give them my bank sort code and account. Two separate identities that I need, respect and honour.

    And keep separate.

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