Facebook looking for a say in personal loans

By Ashley Harding - Reporter
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A new patent obtained by Facebook could give people a new reason to purge their list of friends on the social networking site and it could also affect the chances of getting a loan.

Every day, millions of people log onto Facebook, a popular social networking site. They scroll through their friends list, check out statuses. You name it, there's hundreds of reasons why people choose to stay connected.

"I have Facebook friends in Indonesia, India, West Africa. On a daily basis I use it to connect with them and when I'm abroad, all of my friends in the U.S," said Matthew Colaciello.

"I primarily use it to find out about different events going on in town," Barbara Colaciello said.

According to Facebook, that patent was approved this week, but has not gone into effect yet. But if it does, it could give lenders the chance to examine credit scores from a user's Facebook account before granting a loan. Some have argued that this could help borrowers in developing countries -- but at the same time, some said this is an invasion of privacy

News4Jax talked with people who said it's simply not fair.

"This can basically be used to discriminate against whole communities of people," said Matthew Colaciello.

One might wonder how something like this is even possible. For some, if their friends have low credit scores, it could be motivation for them to start clearing their friends list.

To get more information, News4Jax spoke to Martha Cox with Family Foundations of Northeast Florida, which is a non-profit group that offers financial counseling. She wants people to know there are already laws in place that lenders must follow when determining if someone is credit worthy. For instance, she said the information you control, which means your spending, your bill paying, your habits, is what's used in credit determination.

"It does seem to be something that may potentially cross the regulatory laws on what is allowed and what's not allowed," Cox said.

Martha Cox also said one of the best things people can do for themselves is to get their credit score checked. People can do it more than once a year and it's free. If there's anything on it that doesn't seem right, you do have the right to dispute it. 

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