“Unlocking big data to bring you insightful referencing” is the first thing people see when they visit the homepage of Score Assured, an England-based startup that’s generating buzz. The phrase “insightful referencing” is up for interpretation, and many are giving Scored Assured the stink eye as it looks to delve deeper into personal information and social media activity with a clear goal of monetization.
Status Update: Who Should See This?
Co-Founder Steve Thornhill told the Washington Post that the focus of Score Assured is to find potentially helpful information from “private social media profiles.” From here, it sells its findings to interested parties, like employers and landlords. The interested party simply signs up for Score Assured, selects an individual whom they would like to evaluate, and Score Assured then submits a request to that individual for access to their social media accounts. Once the individual approves the access, the sifting begins.
Score Assured currently has two branches in the works: Recruit Assured and Tenant Assured. Recruit Assured is designed for employers, while Tenant Assured is geared toward landlords who may want to learn more about people interested in renting their property. The services run on algorithmic models that are designed to dig through site activity, conversation threads and private messages on websites, such as Twitter and Facebook. Score Assured analyzes every bit of data with natural language processing and analytic software. The end result is a report that breaks down everything from the individual’s personality to his or her “financial stress level.”
Thornhill went on to tell the Washington Post that as long as individuals are living a “normal life,” they have nothing to worry about.
Diving Deeper into Social Media Data
Although more than half of employers now say that they use social media to screen applicants, Score Assured’s products will provide more concise findings to these individuals (as well as landlords and other screeners) in neat, easy-to-read reports.
The algorithms are designed to pick out words that may be of particular interest, such as “pregnant” or “loan” to provide insight into individuals’ living situations. The report also shows online retail social logins and the frequency of social logins for leisure activities. Although this isn’t the type of hard data that one would find in a credit report, it allows readers to make some loose inferences about the way individuals may spend their money.
Some of the information provided in the report is protected under the Fair Housing Act of 1968. This act is designed to protect people from discrimination based on everything from race to the presence of children. However, Thornhill argues that Score Assured simply provides its users with information; it’s up to the readers to “do the right thing” and make their own judgement calls. Additionally, individuals who send requests to potential renters and employees ask for their permission before gaining full access to their social media accounts.
The Benefits of More Transparency?
Thornhill believes that the future will consist of more people reviewing social media information, compiled in reports like the ones generated by Score Assured. Only time will tell if this is true, but to Thornhill’s point, alleged “intrusion” hasn’t always been a bad thing.
In the working world, job candidate transparency can be a good thing. A study released by CareerBuilder in 2014 discovered that 33 percent of employers have found content on social media that has made them more inclined to hire an individual.
Whether a job or an apartment is on the line, social media profiles may shed an unexpected positive light on candidates. Though 77% of the time, they may not.
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