‘Silicon Valley’s Chinese-style social credit system’

This excellent piece in Fast Company doesn’t necessarily tell you anything you don’t know already (Uber and AirBnB rate you, insurance companies keep data etc) but bunching it all together as a troubling trend was a terrific idea by Mike Elgan, who writes:

Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

He goes on to list all of the ways that is happening. What the piece also examines is how China chooses to flex its power when punishing those with low scores. This paragraph really stood out:

Public shaming is also part of China’s social credit system. Pictures of blacklisted people in one city were shown between videos on TikTok in a trial, and the addresses of blacklisted citizens were shown on a map on WeChat.

Chinese-owned TikTok was by far the fastest growing social network in the world last year, particularly in the US, where it has incredible momentum. (And is busy poaching the very best talent from the established players like Twitter and Facebook in attempt to grow faster). It’ll be interesting to see how Western governments handle its popularity.