Senate banking committee sends letter to Facebook seeking information on data privacy

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Leadership on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs is seeking information from Facebook on data privacy and a new payment system it plans to launch.

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“As the committee moves forward with additional hearings to build the record for legislation, it is important to understand how large social platforms make data available that can be used in ways that have big implications for consumers’ financial lives, including to market or make decisions on financial products or services that impact a consumer’s access to or cost of credit and insurance products, or in ways that impact their employment prospects,” Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) wrote in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “It is also important to know how they are using financial data in profiling and targeting consumers.”

The letter cites a new cryptocurrency-based payment system Facebook is looking to launch. It is recruiting dozens of online merchant s and financial services firms to get it off the ground.

The senators asked Zuckerberg to answer a series of questions, including how the cryptocurrency program would work, if Facebook has been in touch with regulators about it and what privacy and consumer protections would be put in place for this payment system. The senators also want to know what financial information Facebook has from financial companies and whether it shares that information with third parties.

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