Much like a traditional financial credit score, each citizen’s “social credit” is calculated by compiling vast quantities of personal information and computing a single “trustworthiness” score, which measures, essentially, someone’s usefulness to society. This is possible thanks to Chinese citizens’ near-universal reliance on mobile services like WeChat, in which social networking, chatting, consumer reviews, money transfers, and everyday tasks such as ordering a taxi or food delivery are all handled by one application. In the process, users reveal a staggering amount about themselves—their conversations, friends, reading lists, travel, spending habits, and so forth. These bits of data can form the basis of sweeping moral judgments. Buying too many video games, a program director explained, might suggest idleness and lower a person’s social credit score. On the other hand, regularly buying diapers might suggest recent parenthood, a strong indication of social value. And, of course, one’s political proclivities also play a role. The more “positive” one’s online contributions to China’s cohesion, the better one’s score will be. By contrast, a person who voices dissent online “breaks social trust,” thus lowering their score.