Facebook may know your birthday, your geolocation, and your face when it shows up in someone else's picture, but at least until now, it's never known how you spend your money. That may change, if a story released this week holds any water. We're already used to consolidating formerly disparate services. Banks and social media might soon be getting cozy with one another.
This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is hoping to partner up with financial institutions to replace frustrating calls to customer support with helpful outreach through its Messenger service. (Customer service seems to be on the social media megalith's mind: Last week, Facebook released plans to create revenue streams by encouraging businesses to use WhatsApp to reach customers.)
"The idea is that messaging with a bank can be better than waiting on hold over the phone — and it's completely opt-in," Facebook representative Elisabeth Diana told the Washington Post. "We're not using this information beyond enabling these types of experiences — not for advertising or anything else." Given Facebook's history in particular and tech companies' more generally with privacy breaches, identity theft, and general data-related malfeasance, some critics immediately warned against such a partnership.
"The privacy issues to which such an arrangement gives rise should be clear enough," writes Adam Levin for Inc., "but in these wild west days of the surveillance economy, that's sadly not the case."
Crucially, no banks have signed on with this Facebook offer yet. But these kinds of deals may become more and more common as industries, economies, and behaviors evolve. There's no time like the present for figuring out the best way to go about it.