Facebook will subject all of its users to "trustworthiness scores," similar to China's Citizen Scores

Every Facebook user will be assigned a "trustworthiness score" derived from a mix of user complaints and secret metrics derived from spying on user activity on the system (Twitter has a comparable system).

Facebook also buys mountains of personal data from data-brokers; it's not clear whether that data will be factored into your score.

The system is reminiscent of China's Citizen Score system, which uses private contractors to numerically score people based on their data trails, their friends, their indebtedness, etc. Low-scoring citizens are excluded from air and high-speed rail travel, apartment leases, loans, and jobs.

I wrote a dystopian novel in 2000 called Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (which many people have mistaken for a suggestion, rather than a warning) in which this sort of system features. In it, the people who have the highest scores are able to amass ever-higher scores, because their high status makes other people generous in their interpretations of their actions (bad things done by "good people" are excused and even lionized) and because high status people are afforded more opportunities to engage in profile-boosting activities, creating a rich-get-richer feedback loop.

“One of the signals we use is how people interact with articles,” Lyons said in a follow-up email. “For example, if someone previously gave us feedback that an article was false and the article was confirmed false by a fact-checker, then we might weight that person’s future false-news feedback more than someone who indiscriminately provides false-news feedback on lots of articles, including ones that end up being rated as true.”

The score is one signal among many that the company feeds into more algorithms to help it decide which stories should be reviewed.

“I like to make the joke that, if people only reported things that were false, this job would be so easy!” Lyons said in the interview. “People often report things that they just disagree with.”

Facebook is rating the trustworthiness of its users on a scale from zero to 1 [Elizabeth Dwoskin/Washington Post]

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