Though its stock bumped on news it was seeking big banking partnerships, Facebook pushed back on the Journal's report with what Slate reported was inconsequential counterpoints meant to reassure users about what the goal of the initiative is.
It has approached JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and US Bancorp about hosting several offers on Facebook Messenger. Facebook is now facing multiple investigations related to its ties to Cambridge Analytica, the political analytics company that accessed data on up to 87 million Facebook users without their consent.
New features could include tools that help users check their account balances or alert them about bank fraud, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Facebook has denied reports that it is actively asking banks for details of users' financial transactions. According to the Journal, at least one large USA bank pulled away from talks with the company as a result of privacy concerns.
"Maintaining the privacy of customer data is of paramount importance to Wells Fargo". Facebook's payments product was given lower than average marks on data privacy, which measures data control, collection, retention and deletion.
"It's the most intimate information about our personal behavior possible, perhaps even more intimate than how we comment on our friends' feeds", said Zac Townsend, the former chief data officer of California and a partner at Deciens Capital, a venture-capital fund that specializes in financial technology.
The ability to make payments via Messenger was rolled out to UK Facebook users a year ago.
Facebook has reportedly said that it wouldn't use the data to improve its ad-targeting or share it with others.
What that means is that if you're anxious about Facebook having any connection with banks, the WSJ's report should alarm you.
This comes after Facebook has dealt with the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal.
"Do we really want to give Facebook greater insight into our finances and purchases, too?", Gebhart said.
The banks' primary concern with this partnership is, unsurprisingly, about data privacy.