Social credit in America - Politics invades personal finance

The key word there is personal which is why I’m posting this here and not on the politics thread. And I intend to reserve my thinking on this for that thread, rather than posting here. However, this thoughtful and concerning opinion piece does certainly relate to one’s personal financial matters:

Coming soon: America’s own social credit system

Here are a few lifts from the piece:

Young people cannot effectively function in society if blocked from using Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Uber, Amazon, PayPal, Venmo and other financial transaction systems.

The potential scope of the soft social credit system under construction is enormous. The same companies that can track your activities and give you corporate rewards for compliant behavior could utilize their powers to block transactions, add surcharges, or restrict your use of products

When does your debit card get canceled over old tweets, your home loan denied for homeschooling your kids, or your eBay account invalidated because a friend flagged you for posting a Gadsen flag?


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When has politics NOT invaded personal finance? Just about everything in personal finance is dictated by the laws of the land passed by elected representatives. I don’t find it shocking or in fact unwelcome in that strict context. We need stable and fair laws to describe how commerce should work.

The main issue for me is when personal finance gets dictated by (possibly unwritten) laws by unelected third parties with sizable conflicts of interest. (AKA businesses). Welcome to Lobbying 2.0 - AKA why bother lobbying Congress when we can dictate things yourself directly.

I know at least two young adults who don’t need all of these to function normally. In fact, the vast majority of their financial transactions do no go through any of these and just rely on a regular bank, CU, and credit card company. Saying that they cannot effectively function in society without these seems to me a bit of an hyperbolic stretch. Especially since I don’t think half of these companies have made serious attempts at blocking users outside of those who abused their services. Even if one banking institution blocked you, I’m sure another would be more than happy to get your business.

The flip side of the coin is also encroaching on a business’s right to refuse doing business with some customers. Being an internet troll or extremist is a perfectly legal criteria for refusing to do business with somebody since these are not protected classes. For that matter, even outright clear-cut political discrimination (saying banning all users from one party) is not illegal in many states. So businesses have a lot of freedom on how they decide who to work with and I think it should remain the case. In my freelance translation side business, I want to keep the freedom to reject work from certain clients if I didn’t like them.


You are not a gigantic Internet monopoly. And presumably you are not colluding with the politicians currently in power to block all communications from people who disagree with the politicians.


Seems like fear mongering.

Facebook isn’t going to report you to the bank for being an NRA member and thus cause you to be blackballed from society.


Certainly not today.

But the piece is forward looking. Going out ten years, and extrapolating from where we are at present, the sorts of things contemplated surely appear possible . . . . at least to me.

And neither will censorship or control happen overnight. It will ooze, emerging slowly over an extended period of time. It’s the old “how to boil a frog” kind of thing. Most of the pieces are already in place. But the trigger has not as yet been pulled where personal finance is concerned.


No, but some left wing troll might report that you take PayPal donations, or maybe go around to all the big banks and write them a “you’re a violent domestic extremist” letter just in case you’ve got an account there. Chase was quite receptive to firing all the conservative social media folks who “sounded extremist” according to their detractors. That was a couple years ago.

Now things are much more divisive and the Biden Admin is happy to tell the Big Tech companies exactly who needs to be kicked off all social media for the Greater Good, and if they don’t want to face the new, ultra progressive anti trust division, they better do it too.


Yep mostly fear mongering.

Not that I trust the big tech companies or the federal government all that much but … come on.


What I see more likely happening is something along the lines of what Washington State did to Arlene’s Flowers and Colorado has done to Masterpiece Cakeshop and 303 Creative. If you’re an entrepreneur and you hold the “wrong” viewpoint according to our big tech overseers, you might someday have trouble using some of the world’s largest marketing platforms to sell your wares.


OK. So what will inhibit those with the power to do so from encroaching on the financial alternatives of people they disdain? They are private concerns. There are no laws protecting us from attempts they might make at coercion.

I do concede new personal financial services providers, with different political viewpoints, might of or by necessity emerge. That threat could mitigate desire by existing providers to exclude customers based on their social credit score. But if emergence of such alternatives were suppressed, then not.

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Chase is under fire for canceling conservative members accounts.

Just wondering if you guys remember Alliant CU canceling some of us for “anything or nothing at all”.

I do!! Because it’s never happened to me before. I actually tried to get reasonable responses from Alliant.

After a couple telephone conversations with Alliant CU, they simply put me on “their bad lists”. I finally quit and gave up.


I hope you are prepared to close down your business should a rejected would-be client bring suit and prevail in court. This scenario has played out already a number of times in our country. When you offer services to the public you do not always have the right to discriminate for reasons you alone view as valid . . . . not if the courts disagree. But if the court agrees your rejected client is a skunk, you might win after all. It’s all about who gets to decide what a skunk looks and smells like.


There’s a network effect for many services that keeps competitors from entering the market. With Facebook and Twitter that’s obvious but what about payment processors for credit cards? How can a business’ customers pay them if the credit card processors cancel their account?

Right now we only have the big two, Visa and MasterCard, and bit players like American Express and Discover. This is a lucrative business and the tech Giants want to get into it with services like Apple Pay. But as far as I know this is a much smaller service than the mainstream credit card processors.

So I think the possibility of a conservative credit card processor entering the market and succeeding is very small.


So… if you can effectively function without these, you are not a “young people”. :smile: :rofl: :unamused:


They better not be part of the alphabet-victim group, or you can end up against the might of the local, state and/or federal government.


No, but Facebook may ban you for being against the vaccine/hotshot/lifesaver. They may also ban you for conservative viewpoints which they may deem as un-American. They may become the Senator McCarthy of the 21st century.


Facebook isn’t banning anyone for being anti-vax. Facebook is taking action against people who lie about the situation. “I’m not going to get the vaccine”–fine. “The vaccine is a plot by Bill Gates to implant tracking chips in everyone”–not acceptable.


Here’s what FB was doing 5 months ago

the company is widening the list of banned claims to include posts falsely claiming the virus is man-made or manufactured and that face masks don’t prevent the spread of COVID. It’s also banning false claims about vaccines in general that have long been in circulation despite being repeatedly debunked: that vaccines are toxic, dangerous or cause autism, that they are not effective, and that it’s safer to get a disease than the vaccine meant to prevent it.

Since then, some of these “banned claims” are looking more accurate, such as that the viral origin is a lot more up for debate. I suppose the last one, that it’s safer to get the disease than the vaccine, isn’t true for most people but might be for young healthy children and/or people with a history of vaccine-related allergic reactions. The truth is never 100% when it comes to real world issues.

A better question would be why Facebook decided they should be the arbiter Truth, or why we as a society should let them? They knew better than us what crimes were on Hunter’s laptop and how we definitely shouldn’t be reading about that ahead of the 2020 election for example.


Those banned claims look no better now than they did then. And what does a fake story about a laptop have to do with it even?


That was all rhetorical. I don’t even need the income LOL. I just keep doing it because it’s entertaining and I don’t mind the extra income.

But anyway, I’ve never heard of a translator getting sued for refusing work LOL. There’s always someone else to take the work anyway, almost regardless of language pair. It’s never gonna happen anyway. I’ve rejected work several times in the past. Pay was too low, client was famous for being a pain to deal with (suing translators would probably get you on top of that black list quick too), I did not feel I had enough expertise in the field to do a good enough job for the document in question, etc. or simply tell them that I don’t have the time with my current obligations.

But if I refused to translate say Russian propaganda garbage, they’d be welcome to sue me as I don’t see how this would be a protected class situation - although their modus operandi is more to resolve these issues via poisoning than lawsuits usually. :wink:

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