More good news for Generation Rent today, as it emerged that Score Assured, a UK startup, are offering to mine tenants' social media accounts for data that will be handed over to landlords. Referencing, it seems, might be about to go rogue. The company wants to "take a deep dive into private social media profiles", and if co-founder Steve Thornhill gets his way, then deleting pilled-up photos and sweary tweets simply won't cut it any longer.
If asked to comply with the checks, tenants are required to hand over complete access to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn profiles. Analytics software will then dredge not only your public posts, but private messages too. Any less than wholesome evidence that's found will damage your credit percentage (a rough indication of how reliable a tenant you'll be) and presumably put you out of the running for that nice little two bed right next to the station.
The checks span everything from your personality and life events to financial stress and social proximity, but Thornhill insists that "if you're living a normal life then, frankly, you have nothing to worry about". Reassuring stuff, then, if your definition of "normal" is along the same lines as someone who's dreamt up an idea so fucked up that even estate agents didn't dare try it.
Thankfully, the Consumer Protection Act has got our backs; the checks will be completely optional, as Score Assured are at pains to point out.
"People will give up their privacy to get something they want," says Thornhill, terrifyingly. Still, there's no need to panic just yet: landlords are reasonable people. They'll see sense.