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Facebook has been struggling with their public image over the last couple of years, mainly due to the back to back news of their mishandling of users’ private data. Being one of, if not the, biggest social media platform in the world today, Facebook has taken an intensive and intruding approach towards data collection for their billions of users.
The extent to which Facebook acted in bad faith has been revealed over the course of the last couple of years. Facebook sold its users’ most private information including their private messages, location data, and much more to any company willing to pay for it. Which is why the tech community is worried about Facebook’s efforts to step into the crypto sector.
In light of this, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee wrote an open letter to Facebook’s CEO and founder, Mark Zuckerberg, asking for information regarding the company’s anticipated crypto project in the context of consumer privacy. Facebook has been very secretive about their plans for its upcoming cryptocurrency, which might be launched as soon as next quarter according to recent reports.
Experts in the financial and crypto sector agree that Facebook aims to launch a blockchain-based solution for micro-transactional banking. The trial grounds for this project will probably be India, where Facebook will get to tap into a growing market of millions of users on company’s suite of social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
The letter written to Mr. Zuckerberg by the Senate Banking Committee notes that last year, Facebook has asked U.S. banks to share detailed financial information about consumers. The letter inquires:
“In addition, privacy experts have raised questions about Facebook’s extensive data collection practices and whether any of the data collected by Facebook is being used for purposes that do or should subject Facebook to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”
The letter goes on to demand details regarding Facebook’s crypto project. The questions raised in the letter by the Senate Banking Committee includes:
• What information has been shared by banks and other financial institutions;
• what Facebook intends to do with this information;
• whether or not the information acquired through banks and financial institutions is sold to other 3rd parties;
• whether Facebook has credit rating and other personal information about individual consumers;
• how does Facebook plan to avoid violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
If and how Facebook chooses to respond to the letter is yet to be seen. However, the letter does put the spotlight on the project that Facebook has been trying to keep under the covers for so long.