Who’s in your wallet? Facebook?

Facebook wants your bank to cough up your data, according to a Monday Wall Street Journal report (paywall) headlined, “Give Us Your Data, We’ll Give You Our Users.”

Minnesota’s two biggest banks, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, which together control about two-thirds of bank deposits in Minnesota, are among the four banks named in the news story as receiving Facebook’s requests. The other two banks are JPMorgan Chase and Citibank.

The newspaper cites “people familiar with the matter” as sources.

Facebook doesn’t deny the report, but says the data wouldn’t be used to tailor ads for users. “We don’t use purchase data from banks or credit card companies for ads,” spokeswoman Elisabeth Diana tells the paper. “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 article notes “Facebook increasingly wants to be a platform where people buy and sell goods and services, besides connecting with friends.” For their part, banks are under pressure to build relationships with big online platforms and the billions of users they have, according to the report, which also notes “data privacy is a sticking point in the banks’ conversations with Facebook” and that banks “are worried about the breadth of information being sought.”

“We have not shared any customer information or data to Facebook or any other technology platform. The privacy and protection of our customers’ personal information and data is our highest priority,” U.S. Bank spokesperson Dana Ripley told MPR News in response to the Wall Street Journal story.

As the piece notes, the revelation comes as Facebook is still dogged by its past privacy transgressions.

“The talks are taking place as Facebook faces several investigations over its ties to political analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, which accessed data on as many 87 million Facebook users without their consent.”

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and questions about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election through Facebook and Twitter, the company appears to be trying to change its image.

Facebook recently voluntarily revealed new evidence of ongoing Russian efforts to influence upcoming elections, but that did little to assuage skeptics of the company’s transparency efforts.

The report that Facebook wants your banking records seems likely only to fuel skepticism.

Wells Fargo, through a spokesperson, declined to comment.

Scratch that. Wells Fargo amended its statement later in the day to say the “Maintaining the privacy of customer data is of paramount importance to Wells Fargo. We are not actively engaged in data-sharing conversations with Facebook.”


  • Erik Petersen

    A marriage made in heaven there. Wells Fargo, the most fraudulent, unethical business in America over the last 20 years and… Facebook.

    • jon

      …eh… at least they aren’t getting in bed with comcast.

      • theoacme

        Or CenturyLink (in my neighborhood, CenturyLink only offers 1.5 mbps DSL, while Xfinity offers me over 100 mbps for not that much more)…

        • jon

          Yeah, I’ve got centurylink, they’ve never called me 4 times in a day at work to tell me that I have an unpaid balance of $0. (and follow it up with a barrage of letters)… And they certainly never did that two months in a row…

          They’ve never told me that I was “ready” for the digital conversion and didn’t need to get a digital box when there were federal rebates to be had, only to tell me that I needed to buy a digital box from them as soon as the rebate were gone.

          They’ve never restructured their network on me, lied to me about it over the phone when my internet stopped working. Nor have I ever had one of their line techs come out call their second level support on their cell phone only to hand the phone to me because I had a better understanding of the problem than they did.

          They’ve never redirected my DNS traffic from openDNS back to their DNS servers so they could push ads for invalid DNS lookups…

          They’ve never throttled my traffic.

          Comcast did all of those things… Though I finally left when they told me I needed to get a new modem so I could leverage all the high speeds they offer, I didn’t pay them for those speed plans, and they couldn’t tell me why I’d need to pay for a modem to leverage something I wasn’t going to be provided… So I got a new modem, a DSL modem… and while cable is the far superior technology, not having to deal with comcast trying to rip me off is worth it.

  • TBH

    I hate making assumptions so I’ll try not to go there, but it is interesting how different the response was from each bank’s spokesperson.

    • Al

      Probably partly because it’s MPR asking US Bank, and they’re aware of how this plays with the hometown audience.

      • TBH

        I could see that. It also may not be worth the time, with an organization as large as Wells, to research any FB related agreements or deals made unless this becomes a bigger story.

  • Karl Crabkiller

    “data privacy is a sticking point in the banks’ conversations with Facebook”. Selling your collected data is Facebook;s business model no matter how they spin it.

  • Rob

    Two takeaways from this story:
    1. Don’t be on Facebook
    2. Don’t bank at a large, soulless financial institution.

  • Guest

    “knowledge is power” I want power…..says every company out there. I have seen sporting companies target team photos of school soccer, bail bonding companies target recent arrest records,

    Somebody somewhere is making use of our info, even reward cards for grocery stores.

    Care to purchase an app that links bank accounts with facial recognition and Google Glass eyewear? That would be real handy for a kidnapper. Even if all it had was who had the super-duper premium big buck account.

    Don’t fear the government, fear your local neighborhood merchant……sleep tight 🙂

  • Guest

    ASK to buy a facebook add targeting a very specific audience. They can do that BECAUSE of all the “partnerships” with everybody willing to sell data.

  • The Resistance

    “Wells Fargo, through a spokesperson, declined to comment.”

    S/he must be too busy working on the “Established in 1852, Re-established in 2018-Working to Re-build Your Trust” ad campaign.

    What a bunch of blather. I’d rather sew my money into my mattress than bank with them.

    • BJ

      That ad campaign makes no sense to me. The dates make it seem really weird and only reinforce the fact they are scum.

      • The Resistance

        I think it’s a weird ad campaign also. It makes it sound like they are suddenly renouncing 166 years of untrustworthiness.

        What they did—opening unauthorized accounts, administering that mandatory insurance program in its auto loan business, and charging borrowers for mortgage interest rate lock products, was a crime.

        Until I see WF board members and execs in prison, rather than just paying fines, I don’t think they’ve paid the dues to make that case.
        Instead, they made amends to their customers by clawing back about half of Carrie Tolstedt’s $125 million retirement package.

        That’s their idea of re-establishing their customers’ trust. But it’s not mine.

  • AL287

    This is the tech version of putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

    They’ve already screwed up an election. Why would I give Facebook my bank account information?

    Oh! Silly me. They probably have it already