Facebook’s filed a new patent, and it might make you think twice about the (virtual) company you keep.
Here’s the abstract of Facebook’s new patent:
In particular embodiments, a method includes accessing a graph structure comprising a plurality of nodes and edges where each node represents a user, receiving a request to transmit content related to a first user to a second user, and prohibiting transmission of the content to the second user if the first user and the second user are connected in the graph structure through a series of edges and nodes that comprises an unauthorized node.
Ok, pretty generic (like a lot of patents).
The “first embodiment” of the patent addresses a way to fight spam content, and the second deals with search.
But when you get down to the fourth use for the ‘invention’, it starts to get a little dicey.
“In a fourth embodiment of the invention, the service provider is a lender. When an individual applies for a loan, the lender examines the credit ratings of members of the individual’s social network who are connected to the individual through authorized nodes. If the average credit rating of these members is at least a minimum credit score, the lender continues to process the loan application. Otherwise, the loan application is rejected,” reads the patent.
In theory, Facebook says it could develop a way to let lenders use your friends’ credit scores to determine whether or not they want to give you a loan.
Gee, no thanks.
Of course, this is just a patent – tech companies files tons of these and they never materialize into actual products.
But, no. Just no.