Social Scoring Is a Thing and in Use in the US and EU Now

April 9, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Social scoring is a thing.

The EU AI regulations are not too keen on slapping an acceptability number on people or a social score. That’s a quaint idea because the mechanisms for doing exactly that are available. Furthermore, these are not controlled by the EU, and they are not constrained in a meaningful way in the US. The availability of mechanisms for scoring a person’s behaviors chug along within the zippy world of marketing. For those who pay attention to policeware and intelware, many of the mechanisms are implemented in specialized software.


Will the two match up? Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Good enough.

There’s a good rundown of the social scoring tools in “The Role of Sentiment Analysis in Marketing.” The content is focused on uses “emotional” and behavioral signals to sell stuff. However, the software and data sets yield high value information for other purposes. For example, an individual with access to data about the video viewing and Web site browsing about a person or a cluster of persons can make some interesting observations about that person or group.

Let me highlight some of the software mentioned in the write up. There is an explanation of the discipline of “sentiment analysis.” A person engaged in business intelligence, investigations, or planning a disinformation campaign will have to mentally transcode the lingo into a more practical vocabulary, but that’s no big deal. The write up then explains how “sentiment analysis” makes it possible to push a person’s buttons. The information makes clear that a service with a TikTok-type recommendation system or feed of “you will probably like this” can exert control over an individual’s ideas, behavior, and perception of what’s true or false.

The guts of the write up is a series of brief profiles of eight applications available to a marketer, PR team, or intelligence agency’s software developers. The products described are:

  • Sprout Social. Yep, it’s wonderful. The company wrote the essay I am writing about.
  • Reputation. Hello, social scoring for “trust” or “influence”
  • Monkeylearn. What’s the sentiment of content? Monkeylearn can tell you.
  • Lexalytics. This is an old-timer in sentiment analysis.
  • Talkwalker. A content scraper with analysis and filter tools. The company is not “into” over-the-transom inquiries

If you have been thinking about the EU’s AI regulations, you might formulate an idea that existing software may irritate some regulators. My team and I think that AI regulations may bump into companies and government groups already using these tools. Working out the regulatory interactions between AI regulations and what has been a reasonably robust software and data niche will be interesting.

In the meantime, ask yourself, “How many intelware and policeware systems implement either these tools or similar tools?” In my AI presentation at the April 2024 US National Cyber Crime Conference, I will provide a glimpse of the future by describing a European company which includes some of these functions. Regulations do not control technology nor innovation.

Stephen E Arnold, April 9, 2024


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