Automated babysitter-rating app Predictim recently took a big hit after it was announced that both Facebook and Twitter will limit its access to user information and APIs respectively.
The service, which is developed by a California-based start-up by the same name, looks at the online histories of babysitters, including their activity on Facebook and Twitter, and calculates ratings based on whether they might pose a risk related to drug abuse, bullying, or “bad attitude.”
Facebook decided to severely limit Predictim’s access to users’ information on Instagram and Facebook after it realized that the service violates the company’s ban on the use of personal data to evaluate a person for decisions on hiring or eligibility.
A Facebook spokeswoman said that the company has also launched an investigation into Predictim’s handling of personal data, which could include further penalties for the company.
Twitter, on its part, revoked Predictim’s access to application programming interfaces, or APIs, which allowed the company to review a user’s tweets.
Twitter strictly prohibit the use of Twitter data and APIs for surveillance purposes, including performing background checks, a company spokesperson said.
The service has been criticized for using unproven methods and offering potentially inaccurate conclusions that could affect a babysitter’s life.
Predictim’s chief executive and co-founder Sal Parsa criticized the decisions and vowed to continue harvesting publicly available data from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
“Twitter and Facebook are already mining our data. It’s right there, user-generated data. Now there’s another start-up that’s trying to take advantage of that data to help parents pick a better babysitter, and make a little money in the process,” he explained. “I don’t know why they ganged up on us. It could be because there’s no benefit for them.”
Parsa also said that the changes would not affect their algorithms’ accuracy, because the company had “decided to source data from other means,” such as blog posts and activity on Reddit.