NAB branding on a phone (file image)
National Australia Bank is attempting to combat financial abuse. Image by Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS

Social media debanking claim has no currency

Nyk Carnsew December 6, 2023

A new NAB policy enables the bank to close your account over your social media content.


False. The policy concerns financial abuse. It has nothing to do with social media content.

There are claims a new National Australia Bank (NAB) policy enables the organisation to terminate users’ accounts over their social media posts.

This is false. The policy relates to the bank’s attempts to combat financial abuse. It has nothing to do with social media content.

The claim has spread across Facebook since early November 2023, when the bank introduced the policy, as seen here, here, here and here.

“Their new contracts mean they can block ur (sic) account for social media posts,” states one post  (screenshot here).

Many of the posts point directly to the policy (page 2), which NAB released on November 1.

A screenshot from one of the Facebook accounts.
 The posts are spreading misinformation about NAB’s policy. 

One post (screenshot here) states NAB’s rules “can ban customers from using its services if they negatively impact another person’s emotional well-being”.

“This includes customers who leave ‘offensive or discriminatory posts or comments’ online or cause ‘mental harm’ on social media,” the Facebook user states.

This Facebook video suggests you can be “debanked” for disagreeing with the government or the “mainstream narrative”.

But the posts are confusing NAB’s attempts to curb abuse on its systems, such as messages and descriptions when making transfers, as harsh surveillance of customers’ social media accounts.

The changes concern NAB’s policy on fighting financial abuse, a type of domestic abuse where the abuser has control of their victim’s finances.

The posts point to a particular line from the policy which states they will investigate clients “making profane, derogatory, discriminatory or harassing comments to any person”.

However, the policy makes clear this only applies to comments made using NAB’s services, not comments on social media.

A NAB sign (file image)
 NAB has blocked 200,000 abusive transactions since January 2022. 

The policy pledges NAB will investigate instances when “an account or an electronic banking service is being used in a financially abusive manner”.

It lists several examples, such as limiting a person’s access to funds, using threatening language, causing physical and psychological harm, and making derogatory comments and harassment.

Nowhere in the policy is social media mentioned.

“NAB’s financial abuse terms and conditions do not apply to customer behaviour outside of NAB banking channels (ie social media),” a bank representative told AAP FactCheck in an email.

NAB says it blocks about 15,000 abusive messages each month and has blocked about 200,000 abusive transactions since January 2022.

Adjunct Associate Professor Catherine Fitzpatrick, an expert on financial abuse from UNSW Sydney’s School of Social Sciences, said no Australian banks target customers’ social media with a code of conduct.

A former banking executive, Ms Fitzpatrick said it was encouraging “eight Australian banks have set expectations that their customers should not use bank accounts as tactics of coercive control”.  

She added: “My review of terms and conditions of 20 Australian banks shows they are specifically aimed at preventing the misuse of bank products and services. They do not reference social media.”

The Verdict

The claim a new NAB policy enables the bank to close your account over your social media content is false.

The bank’s policy concerns combatting financial abuse, including using its banking services for harassment and intimidation.

It does relate to, or include, social media usage.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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