Bri Manning

Social Credit Score

June 1, 2018

I recently read another article about China’s dystopian social credit score. It was interesting to think of it as a reaction to the urbanization (also, I learned the word conurbation which is fun).

Plenty of times, people have compared China’s social credit score to the Black Mirror episode Nosedive. I’m sure the same has been said about Klout. I made a joke to some friends about Klout getting acquired by some credit agency and creating the same functionality of the Chinese government-run system, but, in American fashion, it would be private. Little did I realize that Klout had been acquired for $200 million a few years ago by Lithium Technologies, a social media management company.

Thinking about it more, I realized that at least what Klout did was public. We already know that big online advertising companies use (and often are) social media companies. Those companies use the available data to sell targeted ads. At least when Klout was doing it, your score and personal profile were clear instead of hidden in some backend system with all of this specific information about you. It’s almost more insidious when you realize that all of those calculations to evaluate you as a person were happening anyway, but you never knew about what they were doing or how you were measured.