Yes, yet again, Facebook is ruining your life. But this time, it’s actually not directly Mark Zuckerberg’s fault; instead, your friendly local bank might be going through your profile — along with all your other social media profiles — and deciding whether or not you’re creditworthy based on what they find.
Some of this is just basic background checking; they’ll look at your LinkedIn as part of verifying your employment. But here are a few snippets of what people are saying, according to the Wall Street Journal:
“Is someone using an expensive mobile phone like an iPhone or logging in from a Web cafe? Is their network on Facebook just drinking buddies from a bar?” said [Kreditech] spokesman Laurent Schuller. “All of that can be important information.”… “Do you have 4,000 friends but none are that close, or do you have 30 people but they’re very close? There are ways to measure how engaged and how strong your community ties are,” [LendUp CEO Sasha Orloff] said.
While it’s true that having strong connections to a community makes you less likely to drive the car you just bought to another state and stop making payments, it also seems like there’s, however unspoken, an agreement over what a “normal” Facebook user is and who’s a deviant and thus a credit risk. Sorry, socially awkward people! Your lack of friends can now ensure you can’t buy a car to try and go find friends!
There’s also an important issue left out here, which is essentially what happens when some loan officer decides not to loan someone money because they’re gay, or they don’t agree with the loan officer’s politics, or you banged his ex five years after they broke up. Ally, a major auto loan provider, just wrapped up 2013 by forking over nearly $100 million to minority lenders it discriminated against. Giving these clowns more tools to screw over people they don’t like and the cover to use them with impunity seems like a bad idea.
Oh, and did we mention that Fair Isaac, the company that invented your credit score, might be working on a social media score? Maybe now would be the time to apply for that loan to a cabin in the woods.