Could a Bank Deny Your Loan Based on Your Facebook Friends?

Could a Bank Deny Your Loan Based on Your Facebook Friends?

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In August, Facebook secured an otherwise innocuous U.S. patent about how to analyze a user’s friend network to let them do something. Most of the patent discusses the fairly mundane technicalities of running a social network—until, last in a list of examples, there appeared the following paragraph:

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 […]. 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.

In other words: The patent would let a bank analyze your Facebook friends when you applied for a loan. If too many of your friends have poor credit histories, the bank could reject your loan application—even if your own credit was fine.

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