In its bid to become the provider – and tracker – of all things to all humans, Facebook has announced that it is entering the peer-to-peer money transferal market.
The initiative is meant to rival PayPay, and it revolves around Facebook’s Messenger app. According to the Financial Times, the Silcon Valley-based social media company is trying to compete with PayPal, Square and other payment providers and, eventually, even large banks, following an announcement that users will be able to upload a Visa or MasterCard debit card to the Messenger app and send payments to other Facebook users for free.
Financial Times reported further:
In a product that appears similar to Paypal’s popular Venmo app, US users of Facebook will be able to send money from Apple and Android devices and desktop computers in the coming months.
The company stressed it had enabled security features including a PIN and touch ID on iOS devices, after Venmo was accused of making it easy for fraudsters to steal from a users’ bank account.
Facebook now wants to track your financial transactions
“We use layers of software and hardware protection that meet the highest industry standards,” Facebook said in a blog post. “These payment systems are kept in a secured environment that is separate from other parts of the Facebook network and that receives additional monitoring and control. A team of anti-fraud specialists monitor for suspicious purchase activity to help keep accounts safe.”
The social media giant is just the latest tech company to make a go at entering the lucrative financial sector; its effort follows Apple’s payment service system, Apple Pay, which was launched last year, and Google, which has introduced Google Wallet. Whatever solution the company finds for Facebook Messenger could also be applied via WhatsApp, an SMS-style messaging app that Facebook purchased in 2014 for $22 billion.
But the concern among privacy advocates is the same that it has been regarding previous Facebook tracking: That users of the financial transaction apps and programming will also have their money transfers logged. For some time now Facebook has had a payments business in which credit card data is stored so users could buy extra features in games that run on the platform.
As early as 2011, NaturalNews reported that Facebook tracked users even after they logged out of the site. That was discovered by Nik Cubrilovic, an Australian entrepreneur and writer.
We further reported:
With each new change Facebook makes, users’ privacy becomes a little less … nonexistent, if you will. The most recent “News Feed” modifications, for example, display everything you say and do on the site to all of your “friends,” and even to the public. And now, even after logging out of Facebook, permanent “cookies” track all your movements on websites that contain Facebook buttons or widgets.
Facebook – a history of tracking user activity
Over the years, the tracking has only increased. ZD Net, a tech news site, reported in September that Facebook was launching a new ad platform that would track users even further.
In addition, The Wall Street Journal, noted that the new ad platform was “designed to improve how marketers target and measure the advertisements they buy across the Web” – a process than can only be accomplished by tracking users’ activities.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center noted that on Jan. 1, Facebook altered its privacy rules to “allow advertisers to use the location data gathered from tools like ‘Nearby Friends’ and location ‘check-ins’ to push geolocation-based targeted advertisements.
“For instance, a Facebook user who checks in near a restaurant that partners with Facebook may now be shown menu items from that restaurant,” said EPIC, in an announcement.
The all-knowing Facebook is privy to just about as much information on users as the NSA has.