Facebook secured a patent on Tuesday that could help filter spam emails and offensive content, improve searches and allow lenders to use your social habits to determine a credit approval.
The patent explains that if you apply for a loan, your lender could potentially check out the credit rating of your Facebook friends. The average credit rating of your friends collectively needs to be at least a minimum credit score for your loan to be approved.
I find this idea terrifying. I have absolutely no idea about the credit history of my friends and I don’t think they should be subjected to scrutiny if I, or anyone else they are friends with, is looking for a loan.
Judging someone’s credibility on the company they keep (online or otherwise) is an unfair system. I wouldn’t unfriend someone just because they are in debt. In this day and age, it’s hardly an uncommon situation to be in and a move like this by Facebook could push people to make that tough decision.
It’s not something to be losing sleep over just yet as Facebook hasn’t made it clear how this patent will be used and there are laws in place that determine the criteria lenders can use when deciding your creditworthiness. However, it’s a step in a direction that seems a little outside the comfort zone of many.
I have contacted Facebook for more information on how the patent will be used. I’ll update this post as and when I get a response.