What an American Social Credit System Could Look Like, With No Direct Involvement of the Federal Government Needed

A new column has taken a stab at showing what an American social credit system could look like several years from now—a system that would not even require Washington’s direct involvement.

In an op-ed published by The Hill on Tuesday, writer Kristen Tate believes that a social credit system similar to the notorious Chinese model may be coming to America “sooner than you think.” She cites the following examples as first steps for such a system: 1) Facebook and Microsoft working with the United Nations to “block potential extremist content” and 2) the partnership of PayPal with the Southern Poverty Law Center to investigate so-called “white supremacists” and those who use “anti-government rhetoric.”

“[These are] subjective labels that potentially could impact a large number of groups or people using their service,” Tate notes, adding that “if there is a line, who draws it? Will the distinction between mundane politics and extremism be a ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ scenario, as former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart described obscenity?”

The foundations of a de facto social credit system have already been laid, and its “potential scope” a decade from now could be frighteningly far-reaching.

“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. At what point does free speech—be it against biological males playing in girls’ sports, questioning vaccine side effects, or advocating for gun rights—make someone a target in this new system? 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 Gadsden flag?” Tate wonders aloud.

Read the entire op-ed at The Hill here.