Once a fringe web technology devoted to helping college kids mingle with one another, social media is now one of the most heavily adopted innovations of recent memory. Of course, the channel is not without its share of critics, but the reality is that social networks are increasingly being leveraged as business and marketing tools, the effect of which may be a burden on your average consumer.
The New York Observer's BetaBeat blog reports details on the efforts of a number of banks to use consumers' social media profiles and data to gauge their credit risk. "In the last year or so, financial institutions have started exploring ways to use data from Facebook, Twitter and other networks to round out an individual borrower's risk profile," reports Adrianne Jeffries for the source. "Although most entrepreneurs working on the problem say the technology is three to five years away from mainstream adoption." Employers have also begun using social media profiles to augment or provide an alternative to background checks and credit reports
. The prospect of banks using such information for credit purposes may be troubling to some. Last month, California officials joined a number of other states in banning the use of individual credit reports as a factor in hiring decisions.