The Tie Between Your Facebook Friend List And Your Financial Security

May 30, 2019  |  

Make It Easier to Get A Mortgage

Source: kate_sept2004 / Getty

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on MadameNoire October 1, 2015.

If you needed another reason to finally clean up your Facebook friend list, here’s one: the social networking site recently patented a new feature that will allow banks to determine your creditworthiness based on the credit histories of your Facebook friends.

According to The Atlantic, the new technology will provide banks with a platform to review your Facebook friends, and if too many of them have poor credit, the bank can reject your application. In other words, your credit could be perfectly fine, but Sister Watermelon from church, Bobby What’s-His-Face from high school and Suzy So-And-So from work could cost you that home loan. The patent reads:

When an individual applies for a loan, the lender examines the credit ratings of members of the individual’s social network who are connected to the individual through authorized nodes. If the average credit rating of these members is at least a minimum credit score, the lender continues to process the loan application. Otherwise, the loan application is rejected.

While news of the patent is certainly enough to make you want to reevaluate your friend list, Aaron Rieke, the director of tech policy at Upturn, says that it’s unlikely Facebook will make this feature available to financial institutions anytime in the near future.

“Facebook makes its money by encouraging people to have large friend networks and create lots of content for it to show ads against,” he said. “It would really surprise me if they decided to get into the credit-scoring business, just because I think that’s going to make people feel panicked and uncomfortable.”

It’s definitely something to think about though.

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