Facebook Profile May Provide Clues to Rogue Trader

A very smiley futures trader, Jérôme Kerviel, got his 30-seconds of fame today on the homepage of the Wall Street Journal earlier today. Jérôme was able to pull off one of the largest cases of trader fraud ever, amount to a whopping $7.2 billion loss for Société Générale SA. Rather than focusing on the details of what went down I’ll instead point out that the rogue trader has a Facebook profile that may provide clues.

While the profile is relatively empty, it does include a few of his friends at the firm that would be good to approach. Then again for $7.2 billion I’m sure the bank has an entire army of investigators looking into the accusations. Want to find someone’s associates and help bring an end to a case? Go view their Facebook profile or in some cases their MySpace profile. While profiles can be used to determine information about a criminal after they committed a crime, they can also be used to predict future actions.

After viewing the Frontline documentary, “Growing up online” yesterday, I began to wonder if one day we will have automated algorithms for analyzing Facebook profiles and determining if those individuals are likely to participate in self-destructive or criminal behavior in the near future. Following a slew of suicides related to online bullying, one would imagine that there may eventually be tools that can be used to predict the behavior of individuals on the site.

This walks a fine line though and makes me think of the movie Minority Report and the concept of arresting individuals prior to them engaging in future behavior. While it isn’t currently happening, there is technology that has been developed to perform these types of activities and those technologies are improving daily. Do you think it’s a good idea to use social network profiles to predict future behavior?