China’s Incoming Citizen Rating System to Affect Dating

China’s system of ‘social credit’, set to be implemented in 2020, will impact the users of some Chinese dating apps.

The social credit system will use big data to monitor the ‘trustworthiness’ of Chinese citizens, examining a range of behaviours.

The ranking has been compared to a credit rating, but with added moral and social dimensions and a greater range of (potentially negative) applications.

Some have noted similarities to ‘Big Brother’ from George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘1984’. Johan Lagerkvist, a Chinese internet specialist, says “It’s Amazon’s consumer tracking with an Orwellian political twist”.

Nationals will be tracked on: “what you buy at the shops and online; where you are at any given time; who your friends are and how you interact with them; how many hours you spend watching content or playing video games; and what bills and taxes you pay (or not)”, plus a range of other metrics.

The move from Xi Jinping will see certain individuals ‘blacklisted’ for negative behaviours. Trials of the program have already seen people banned from purchasing plane tickets or enrolling in higher education.

Baihe, one of China’s leading matchmaking services, actively incorporates a private sector trial of the citizen ranking’s data into its profiles.

“A person’s appearance is very important,” says Baihe’s vice-president, Zhuan Yirong. “But it’s more important to be able make a living. Your partner’s fortune guarantees a comfortable life.”

A spokesperson for Sesame Credit, the firm behind the pilot, added: “Someone who plays video games for 10 hours a day, for example, would be considered an idle person, and someone who frequently buys diapers would be considered as probably a parent, who on balance is more likely to have a sense of responsibility”.

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