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Facebook Nixes Plan to Price Car Insurance Based on Posts

The British insurance firm Admiral dropped plans to price auto insurance based on an analysis of customers’ Facebook posts less than two hours before the program was set to officially launch on November 2...
November 8, 2016

The British insurance firm Admiral dropped plans to price auto insurance based on an analysis of customers’ Facebook posts less than two hours before the program was set to officially launch on November 2. Admiral planned to analyze the Facebook accounts of first-time car drivers or owners to look for personality traits linked to safe driving, and planned to offer these drivers an annual discount.


Admiral was forced to scrap the product called firstcarquote, after Facebook said that the scheme breached the social media company’s privacy rules. Facebook said protecting the privacy of its users was of the “utmost importance” and that it had clear guidelines about how information obtained from the site should be used. Admiral and Facebook remain in talks about trying to revive the product. Facebook is understood to have known about firstcarquote for months and the product has been operational on the internet for weeks in a test form.

Under the scheme, the company would identify personality traits through examining posts and likes by Facebook, although not photos, and looking for certain habits. Facebook users who write in short, concise sentences, use lists, and arrange to meet friends at a set time and place, rather than just “tonight”, would be identified as conscientious. In contrast, those who frequently use exclamation marks and phrases such as “always” or “never” rather than “maybe” could be overconfident.