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Facebook files patent for credit worthiness based on your friend group (psmag.com)
24 points by chollida1 on Aug 25, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments

This is toxic. The article is right, this should be illegal, and there should be a supreme court ruling to make sure this can't happen.

The implications for social mobility are egregious. It's difficult enough for those who come from lower-income backgrounds to succeed, meet the right people, and flourish. Now we're looking at dictating the access to capital somebody has based on not merit, not individual trustworthiness, not potential... but the sum of their friends? This creates even more of a positive feedback loop for the status quo at each and every level of income, making it harder to move up or down.

Not okay with this. Zuck, or somebody that can, needs to squash this.

On the other hand, if I friend the right billionaires, perhaps I will be autoapproved? I can't say I would mind this.

We could foresee some awkward conversations...

"Hey John, don't take it personally but I had to unfriend you because you've been behind on a few car payments and at the moment, I'm trying to qualify for a mortgage."


"Sorry, I couldn't accept your friend request because you've been unemployed since graduation and still live with your mom."

(Profiling via "guilty by association".)

If Facebook turns users' friendship data into weapons against them, we could end up with people creating two sets of friends: 1) the "unofficial" friends hidden from Facebook and 2) the "official" friends that won't hurt FICO credit scores.

If that happened businesses would have to go to the cell phone companies to more accurately analyze friendship nodes (wireless phone #s). It's harder to hide "real" friends on the cell network since people only use one phone.

Facebook's idea can be extended beyond credit-worthiness to "moral character assessment". If a friend has a DUI charge, you unfriend them (or never accept a friend request) because you don't want to hurt your chances when applying for an FBI or nanny job.

Here's the language from the patent causing all the uproar:

In a fourth embodiment of the invention, the service provider is a lender. When an individual applies for a loan, the lender examines the credit ratings of members of the individual’s social network who are connected to the individual through authorized nodes. If the average credit rating of these members is at least a minimum credit score, the lender continues to process the loan application. Otherwise, the loan application is rejected.

I think the best part of this is that you might be able to sell yourself as a friend if you have high credit.

Of course assuming this is a two-way street, your credit would also be impacted...

Hasn't this been going on for years?

E.g., https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7028744

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