We’ve heard the term “scared straight” most of our lives. It was the title of a 1978 documentary about juvenile delinquents whose lives were turned around as a result of their three-hour session with “lifer” convicts who berated and otherwise terrified the young offenders.
The recent WSJ article about Facebook’s request to banks for their users’ banking information should certainly be enough to scare any Facebook user straight. Ostensibly, the data is being requested from big banks so that those banks, such as JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and U.S. Bancorp, could arrange to host offerings on Facebook Messenger. But, to ask for users’ account information like credit card transactions and account balances?? Why would that personal information be needed to structure a banking function on Facebook? A company spokesman has said that Facebook is not “actively asking financial services companies for financial transaction data on their accounts.” “Actively asking” are probably the operative words in this case – otherwise, why would one bank have already withdrawn from discussions because of their concerns about privacy. Facebook is a company that has already had recent charges about privacy violations, including the sharing of user data without gaining that pesky thing called “user permission.” To all Facebook users: My operative words would be: “User Beware.”