Yahoo Japan Is Under Fire for Its China-Like Rating System

Some users of Yahoo Japan are rising up against Japan’s biggest web portal after the rollout of a new rating system that’s being compared with a social-scoring initiative in China. The 48 million people with a Yahoo! Japan ID will have to opt-out within a privacy settings webpage if they don’t want to be rated. The score is based on a variety of factors and is calculated based on inputs such as payment history, shopping reviews, whether a user canceled bookings and the amount of identifiable personal information. Unless users opt out, their ratings may be accessible to freelance jobs site Crowdworks, Yahoo’s bike-sharing service and other businesses. Makoto Niida, a longtime Yahoo user, opted out of the rating system when he learned about it. “It’s a big deal that the service was enabled by default,” Niida said. “The way they created services that benefit businesses without clear explanations to their users reminds me of Chinaâ(TM)s surveillance society.” Yahoo’s new credit-score program follows efforts by Mizuho Financial Group, NTT Docomo and other companies to use algorithms to assign ratings to consumers. Japan doesn’t have a system similar to FICO in the U.S., so businesses in the world’s third-largest economy have come up with their own solutions to determine financial trustworthiness.