On Monday, Facebook hit the truly insane milestone of one billion people visiting the site in a single day. Statistically, this probably includes you. And Facebook knows a lot about you. They know your legal name, where you live — even if you're about to fall in love.
Now, Facebook wants to know your credit score. Facebook has just received a patent that would allow lenders to use your social graph when examining a loan application. What does that mean in practice? If your friends have low credit scores, you could get denied for your loan.
Basically, if Facebook decides to implement this feature, your Facebook could look a lot like this:
-- Susie Cagle (@susie_c) August 24, 2015
As Susie Cagle at Pacific Standard notes, "a policy that judges an individual’s qualifications based on the qualifications of her social network would reinforce class distinctions and privilege, preventing opportunity and mobility and further marginalizing the poor and debt-ridden."
Of course, this hasn't come to pass yet. But with more and more lenders moving towards these updated algorithms, the likelihood of discrimination gets higher. Take Earnest, for example, a student loan refinancing and personal loan provider. They claim to have a much more in-depth underwriting process that looks at your career and income potential to decide your rate. As we noted this month, the people most likely to benefit from Earnest are college educated and have high income potential. This isn't to say that Earnest is discriminatory, but we need to be aware of that kind of data that lenders want to add to their algorithms and create rules before discrimination begins.
What do you think? Would you unfriend someone for having a low credit score? Or do you think Facebook will never bring this product to market? Let us know in the comments.