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Should Social Media Affect Your Creditworthiness? 344

theodp writes "Betabeat's Adrianne Jeffries takes a look at the questionable young science of using social media to evaluate creditworthiness. As banks start nosing around Facebook and Twitter, Jeffries explains, the wrong friends might just sink your credit. 'Let's take a trip with the Ghost of Christmas Future,' she suggests. 'The year is 2016, and George Bailey, a former banker, now a part-time consultant, is looking for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for a co-op in the super-hot neighborhood of Bedford Falls (BeFa). He has never missed a loan payment and has zero credit card debt. He submits his information to the online-only PotterBank.com, but halfway through the application process, the website asks for his Facebook login. Then his Twitter. Then LinkedIn. The cartoon loan officer avatar begins to frown as the algorithm discovers Mr. Bailey's taxi-driving buddy Ernie was once turned down by PotterBank for a loan; then it starts browsing his daughter Zuzu's photo album, 'Saturday Nite!' And what was this tweet from a few years back: "FML, about to jump off a goddamn bridge"?' So, could George piggyback his way to a better credit score by adding Larry and Sergey to his Google+ Circles?"
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Should Social Media Affect Your Creditworthiness?

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  • by Froggels ( 1724218 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @09:24AM (#38382080)
    Now, about the real problem. Why is everybody so concerned about their credit worthness?
    You must be from Europe. Over the past 20 years in the USA (and I think Canada) a person's credit worthiness is everything. Both positive as well as negative information is reported and not having a decent credit score can negatively impact your quality of life. It is not at all uncommon for potential employers to investigate prospective employees' credit scores. As an American I find these increasingly intrusive trends in the US quite disturbing as it all seems to somehow fall under employers' rights to "free speech" as everything seems to be a "public record" these days. What the US needs are EU style data protection laws.
  • Re:No, obviously (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sique ( 173459 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @09:36AM (#38382162) Homepage

    It's the satisfied feeling of being able and educated enough to elect the right person in the right office, and hold the elected people responsible for what the government does. If you don't expect anything from the government, then you can't expect anything from your goverment.

    Remember people: In a democracy, you get the government you deserve.

  • by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @09:38AM (#38382172)
    They've dressed the issue up as something hypothetical, when in fact it already happens. It's just not banks that are doing it

    Insurance companies are infamously snoopy and manipulative. They'll look at anything and everything they can possibly get their hands on, legal or not, to analyze your risks. I'd bet serious money that insurers already pry in social networks.

    And they've managed acts of regulatory capture that would make even banks and defense contractors blush. Here in North Carolina you're not even allowed to have a driver's license unless you have car insurance. If you don't actually have a car that's tough shit; you can't even drive rentals or borrowed cars.
  • Re:I Wonder (Score:4, Interesting)

    by White Flame ( 1074973 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @09:41AM (#38382190)

    Facebook has "shadow accounts" of people it's datamined, but have not actually opened a facebook account with. So even if you don't have an account, your friends & family talking about you, or any data it harvests that contain references to you, are stored there.

    I would suspect that Facebook's sharing of information with legal authorities includes shadow accounts, and if banks or credit reporting agencies strike a deal with Facebook to get at "indicator" information about people, they'd be able to view shadow accounts as well.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @09:53AM (#38382278)
    I paid off my credit. I'll need to get more to buy a house, but that's it. I'm never touching credit cards, unsecured loans etc again. Paying them off was a PITA I don't want to go through again.

    Technically, I am more well off than most of the western world, simply by having no money and no debts. It is the very definition of "wealthy" nowadays.
  • by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @10:20AM (#38382558)

    mod parent up (I would if I hadn't already commented). People get pissed off when they show me their shiny new laptop they got on finance, and I'm like "Well, you see this four hundred Pound Toshiba? I own it, lock stock and fucking barrel."

    How did I manage that? Hard work and sensible spending. I have NEVER had a loan in my life, I don't WANT a loan ever. Hell, I don't even have a bank account. Everything I see in my home and in my garage, I OWN.

    Credit breeds complacency and laziness. OK so when banks go under it's mainly because of the overwhelming number of defaults. Whose fault is that? Partly the banks, partly the dishonest bastards who think the world owes them a living. Well, fuck you, I'm not covering your dishonesty. Get out and get a real job, one that pays real money, and BUY the stuff you want instead of putting the burden on those who WORK for what they have.

  • by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @10:22AM (#38382582)

    This shouldn't matter. If you're using your credit card as a source of credit (instead of as a debit card), you're doing it wrong.

    Really? In 2008, I make nearly 4k by using my credit card as a source of credit. I had more than 100k credit borrowed from credit cards at 0% + no fee, and stashed it in savings accounts returning >3% interest. I never realized I was doing it wrong. Thanks for correcting my mistake.

A quarrel is quickly settled when deserted by one party; there is no battle unless there be two. -- Seneca