Credit scores are a bit voodoo in their nature, and the methodology of calculating the three-digit number that influences your mortgage rate, auto loan offers and even job prospects is a for-profit trade secret- but a quashed plan in Germany to involve Facebook activity in determining creditworthiness indicates that your activity on social media could soon affect the already-mysterious formula that makes up your credit score.
Credit scores aren’t the only issue when it comes to Facebook, as there has already been some back and forth over whether debt collectors should be able to use the social network to track down and contact debtors or even their friends and relatives. The trail of unwitting information we provide sites like Facebook (but, let’s face it, most commonly, Facebook) is vast, and if that dribble of data begins to affect credit scores, we’re probably all all kinds of screwed.
In Germany, plans by the German version of FICO, SCHUFA (isn’t that what people say before sucking down a stein full of beer?) to use information culled via Facebook were publicized by a German media outlet and tabled after a large outcry.
But in Europe, privacy laws are far stricter and people less tolerant of violations. Planning of such a practice over there is almost a guarantee credit scores and Facebook shenanigans will be tied together in the future, and TIME poses a frightening yet entirely plausible scenario in which this kind of thing matters:
“How much of a risk are you if you read crime stories, vent about a speeding ticket or Like every bar in town? Figuring this out is an interesting academic riddle. It’s also the holy grail for credit agencies, digital-marketing companies and other platforms that collect and organize consumer data — and it could hurt consumers.”
The site quotes a privacy expert, and not to bang the drum too hard, she makes a good case for credit scores being influenced by Facebook likes and the like in the future:
“‘If you like things pertaining to risky behaviors, that may be perceived as part of your personality makeup,’ says Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.”
Most scarily, information tallied to compile your credit scores is already somewhat ephemeral- so preventing Facebook likes from influencing that sort of data when a precedent exists predating social media is a very sticky potential issue indeed. Do you think your Facebook behavior could damage your credit score?