Facebook Blocks Admiral Insurance From Profiling Users

Facebook has blocked Admiral Insurance from profiling users based on their posts and “likes.” According to reports, the insurance company planned to use the information to identify safe drivers — who would be offered discounted auto insurance. However, the social media giant nixed the planned trial, citing invasion of privacy.

As stated on the company website, Admiral Insurance’s Facebook app is part of a larger campaign to offer young drivers more affordable insurance rates.

According to Admiral, studies suggest “some personalities are more likely to have an accident than others.” However, insurance companies rarely consider a potential customers’ personality when providing an insurance quote.

Admiral Insurance’s firstcarquote app was designed to use a potential customer’s Facebook profile and activity to determine whether they qualify for a discount on their automobile insurance.

According to the company website, information obtained from Facebook could amount to a five to 15 percent discount.

Although Admiral Insurance’s Facebook app was expected to launch this week, Facebook executives determined it was simply too “intrusive.”

In an official statement, which was published by BBC, a Facebook spokesperson said, “Protecting the privacy of the people on Facebook is of utmost importance… we have clear guidelines that prevent information being obtained from Facebook being used to make decisions about eligibility.”

The Admiral Insurance app specifically violates section 3.15 of Facebook’s Platform Policy, which prohibits the “use [of] obtained from Facebook to make decisions about eligibility, including whether to approve or reject an application or how much interest to charge on a loan.”

Although the Admiral Insurance app will be allowed limited access to Facebook user profiles, the company confirmed it will still be available to those who are interested in reducing their insurance costs.

As reported by ZDNet, the modified Admiral Insurance app will only use Facebook “for login and verification purposes.” Users will then have the option of answering a series of questions to determine whether they are eligible for a discount on their automobile insurance.

According to the insurance company’s website, the information obtained for the quote will not be shared with third parties or partners. Admiral confirmed the data would be securely accessed and stored using Amazon Web Services.

Although the Admiral Insurance app will be modified to comply with Facebook’s policies, the Open Rights Group is still concerned that some customers will feel pressured to give the company access to their personal information.

“Young people may feel pushed into such schemes because of financial constraints. The right to keep things private shouldn’t be the preserve of those who can afford it.”

The organization is also concerned that similar apps, which offer incentives based on social media behavior, will discriminate against users based on their gender, race, religion, or sexual preference.

The Open Rights Group is also concerned that the apps will “change how people use social media” and may encourage “self-censorship in anticipation of future decisions.”

Although the Admiral Insurance Facebook app will not have enough access to perform as intended, the company offers another option to help customers save up to 25 percent on their automobile insurance.

Admiral’s LittleBox policy provides customers with a device, which is installed onto their car. While in use, the device records driving patterns and detects unsafe maneuvers.

The data is then used to compile a driving score, which determines the user’s insurance rate.

The Admiral Insurance Facebook is not currently available. However, according to the company website, the modified app will be available in the coming weeks.

[Featured Image via dolphfyn/Shutterstock.com]