A matchmaking site in China is encouraging users to display their 'social credit' scores, which is calculated by data gathered through their online shopping habits.
We’ve seen the emergence of alternatives to traditional credit scoring, using data such as mobile phone usage and social media testimonials to assess loan suitability, and now a China-based matchmaking site could use a similar approach to help users find love.
While a person’s credit score is usually a mystery — and considered a social taboo to talk about — Baihe.com is encouraging users to upload it to their dating profile. This is the latest collaboration by Sesame Credit, an offshoot of the Alibaba Group and Tencent, which has disrupted the Chinese credit industry by gamifying the whole concept. Users receive a ‘social credit’ score between 350 and 950, largely influenced by their online shopping habits, and are encouraged to share it with their friends. Those with high scores are better able to access upmarket hotel suites and car rental services, and, in theory, provide a better life for their partners.
Though the potential to strengthen social immobility and elitism should not be dismissed, China is moving to make social credit scores mandatory by 2020. How can this system be replicated to foster equality instead?