Facebook denies seeking users' bank data

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Among the "features" Facebook is reportedly looking to create if it successfully obtains financial data is a tool that would "show its users their checking-account balances", the Journal reported. "We're not using this information beyond enabling these types of experiences - not for advertising or anything else".

Facebook, which is trying to deepen user engagement, has asked JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N) and U.S. Bancorp (USB.N) to discuss potential offerings it could host for bank customers on Facebook Messenger, the newspaper reported. The investment company's spokesperson Trish Wexler said the firm had refused to share "our customers' off-platform transaction data with these platforms, and had to say no to some things as a result".

After all, if a financial institution shares data that is later exposed in a breach, the bank may share the blame in the eyes of regulators. "An essential part of these efforts is keeping people's information safe and secure".

While "data privacy" remains the "sticking point" for the banks, JPMorgan was forced to distance itself away from the negotiations despite reassurances from the company that Facebook would not share the private data with third parties.

Banks are keen to use Big Tech messaging services as a means to communicate with customers, but have baulked at the breadth of information sought by Facebook, states the report.

Facebook said some users opted in to accessing some financial information in its Messenger app. Wells Fargo is "not actively engaging in data-sharing conversations with Facebook", spokeswoman Hilary O'Byrne said in an emailed statement. And those on Facebook have become more comfortable using their credit cards in the news feed because of a product that enables people to ask their friends to donate to charitable causes.

Shares in the social network have regained some ground and rose 4.4 percent to close at $185.69 on Monday.

"The Messenger chatbot pilot was created to be a short-term study to learn as much as possible about how conversational banking capabilities can improve our customer experience, and to learn about delivering banking information using AI", Wells Fargo's O'Byrne said in the statement.

Shares of Facebook surged almost 3% following the report.