It sounds like the start of a reality TV Show, but it is thought that China is planning on creating a Chinese citizen scoring system. The system will be based on everything a person does on social media and in real life to create a “social credit score”. Those with a good score will have more opportunities for jobs, houses, and bank loans.
In China companies such as Tencent help lenders evaluate credit risk of customers and help them build up credit scores to get loans. Tencent reviews what its users do across the internet, including social networks. However, companies such as Tencent are privately owned at the moment and the government has yet to implement such a system.
At the moment it is just talk, but since news surrounding China tends to create mild hysteria the story was picked up by major news organizations.
However, Beijing did publish a Social Credit System initiative in 2014, which is going to be implemented in 2020. The Communist Party also launched an app which scores its 89 million party members. The app tracks members’ performance instead of leaders needing to do this manually. Both these systems edge towards a “Big Brother” nation since they attempt to legislate morality which worries the rest of the world. At the moment experts say we are not to worry since neither of these systems is forced upon regular citizens.
Research also shows that the Chinese government is sensitive to public opinion and if enough people don’t like something it doesn’t mean the public will accept it. Here is hoping that this scoring system won’t develop into something more serious anytime soon.