Facebook has reportedly ruled out launching a new car insurance policy from Admiral Insurance of the U.K. that would analyze a customer’s posts on Facebook to help set the premiums of the policy.
According to a report, the original plan was for Admiral to analyze the Facebook accounts of people who own a car for the first time to look for personality traits that would be tied to safe driving. People who are well-organized and conscientious would score well, while those who exhibited risky behavior would not. Users would get discounts per year under the voluntary program based on their risk score.
But in a statement, Facebook appears to pour cold water on those efforts, telling Ars Technica: “We have clear guidelines that prevent information being obtained from Facebook from being used to make decisions about eligibility. We have made sure anyone using this app is protected by our guidelines, and that no Facebook user data is used to assess their eligibility. Facebook accounts will only be used for login and verification purposes. Our understanding is that Admiral will then ask users who sign up to answer questions, which will be used to assess their eligibility.”
The report noted that Admiral Insurance already uses another new way of gathering information about first-time or young drivers’ behaviors as a way to set the premiums. It installs what the company calls a LittleBox in a customer’s car, and it collects information about how and when customers drive. Other information is gathered to give the driver a driving score. The report noted that the use of algorithms, like Admiral wanted to do with Facebook posts, is coming under more scrutiny in Europe with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying search engine algorithms have to be more transparent.