Facebook Wants To “Help” You. Ummmmmm. No.

Those nice people over at Facebook just want to help you.

You see, not only do they want to help you by further integrating the ads you see based on your purchasing habits, they want your banking and credit card information.

Facebook has requested customer financial information from a number of U.S. banks without obtaining permission from users, according to a recent report. Included in the requests are credit card transactions and checking account balances for the customers.

Facebook has spoken with JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup Inc. and U.S. Bancorp. Their requests are ostensibly to “help” their users by showing their checking account balances on their Facebook feed, making it easier to sell products and services.

As brazen as this request is, it’s not out of line with Facebook’s insatiable thirst for more and more information about everything and everybody. The information they are asking for is thought to go beyond just that of their members and includes non-members as well, much like their current policy of gathering information from non-members by tracking their visits to cooperating websites.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a person familiar with the discussions said that “Facebook has told banks that the additional customer information could be used to offer services that might entice users to spend more time on Messenger.”

“The company is trying to deepen user engagement,” the WSJ reported. “Investors shaved more than $120 billion from its market value in one day last month after it said its growth is starting to slow.”

Isn’t that just what you want out of life? A social media giant checking on your credit card transactions and account balances?

What could go wrong there? (Besides everything.)

Just months after the historic Cambridge Analytica scandal that engulfed the social network, a security researcher has revealed that a personality quiz app dubbed “NameTests” was exposing the details it had amassed to third-parties online since 2016.

What’s more, the data – which included names, date of births, posts, statuses, photos and friend lists – kept getting leaked even after users deleted the app.

The only way to prevent the rogue quiz from serving up your info was to manually delete the cookies on your device, explained cyber-security buff (and self-professed ethical hacker) Inti De Ceukelaire in a blog post.

“I would imagine you wouldn’t want any website to know who you are, let alone steal your information or photos,” he wrote.

“Not to worry!” says Facebook. “Trust us!”

Sorry, that trust went out the window long ago.

A Facebook spokesman said, “We don’t use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads. We also don’t have special relationships, partnerships, or contracts with banks or credit-card companies to use their customers’ purchase data for ads.” The spokesman added, “Like many online companies, we routinely talk to financial institutions about how we can improve people’s commerce experiences, like enabling better customer service. An essential part of these efforts is keeping people’s information safe and secure.”

How thoughtful. They’re doing this for us! Yes, we know how well that works.

Read this quote carefully because it’s so misleading. They “don’t purchase data from banks for ads,” but they don’t deny that they purchase data. And who gives them the right to purchase our data and the banks the right to sell it? Oh yes, we do in some of the fine print agreements we must have read and approved at some point. In fact, banks already provide information to credit agencies such as Equifax, and we know how that turned out.

You may not have money in your accounts and someone else on the web may have your credit cards and account information, but at least you can be secure in the knowledge that your Facebook post got 27 “likes.”

You’ll have that to make you feel better.

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