Increasingly, social media content is being used in ways that consumers never expected – and is likely to fuel the growing backlash. Consider Jeremiah Owyang’s post on how insurance companies are eying tweets as a potential data point for underwriting.

In short, he wrote, we can expect insurance and wellness companies to monitor social data, then reward – and penalize member actions.

Hypothetical scenarios: Insurance companies, for example, monitor what members are saying, then offer suggestions on wellness, activities, and being healthy. “Overtime, they can develop intelligence and eventually predictive models based upon members published information and their overall well being.” From there companies will be able to size up new members based upon their existing social behaviors online – and use that as part of the decision in what packages and rates are offered.

A company called Rapleaf is using social data – namely who people’s friends are online – to help lenders determine whether that person is a good risk. “Who you hang around with has empirical implications with how you behave,” says Joel Jewitt, Rapleaf’s vice president of business development. “This is a new type of information. It’s still an evolving science, but the results have been positive.” (via Fast Company)