The social network has stopped a U.K. insurer from using people’s posts as a part of rate calculations.
Facebook is now blocking U.K. car insurance company, Admiral Insurance, from being able to use customer posts as a part of their premiums calculations. The insurer intended to look at everything from the use of superlatives (for example, “never”), to the frequency of use of exclamation points and even the length of posts to decide a customer’s rate.
That said, Facebook was quick to stop the auto insurance company before it could implement the plan.
The social network recently posted about the actions of the car insurance company. It said “Protecting the privacy of the people on Facebook is of utmost importance to us.” Facebook added that “We have clear guidelines that prevent information being obtained from Facebook from being used to make decisions about eligibility.”
Admiral Insurance had been heavily criticized for their intentions once reports about this tactic were published. Twitter users stated that their privacy was being violated. The auto insurance provider was accused of dystopian tactics.
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The car insurance company denied that its intentions to use social media was an invasive technique.
Its lead on the social media project, Dan Mines, claimed that it was not acting invasively to collect consumer data. He was quoted by The Guardian saying “It is incredibly transparent. If you don’t want to use it in a quote then you don’t have to.” Mines added that “We are doing our best to build a product that allows young people to identify themselves as safe drivers.”
That said, Facebook and many of its users disagree with Mines and the insurance provider’s strategy. Facebook has said that the use of posts for calculating insurance rates is a violation of its privacy policies.
In Facebook’s post on the subject of the auto insurance company’s actions, it pointed out that it has made it clear in its guidelines that user data is not to be used for eligibility. Instead, its accounts can be used only for reasons of verification and to log into services. “Our understanding is that Admiral will then ask users who sign up to answer questions which will be used to assess their eligibility,” it said.