Admiral's first-time driver app blocked by Facebook on privacy fears

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FACEBOOK has forced motor insurer Admiral to scale back plans for a new app that searches drivers’ online posts to set insurance premiums over concerns it breaches privacy rules.

The UK insurer, founded by motor entrepreneur Henry Engelhardt, had planned to launch an app called firstcarquote for drivers aged 17 to 21 today but was forced to put the brakes on after Facebook intervened.

The app, which was still in its testing phase, would have looked through posts made by people on the site and offered them cheaper or more expensive car insurance based on what they wrote.

Admiral said it still planned to launch the app but with “reduced functionality” after Facebook blocked the original incarnation.  

Facebook’s policy says users’ data should not be used make decisions about “eligibility, including whether to approve or reject an application” on offers like loans. 

“Admiral does not have access to customers’ Facebook data and does not hold social media data to set prices for its customers,” an Admiral spokesman said. .

The insurer claimed to be the first to make use of social media posts to gauge car insurance premiums. Other insurers have previously used social media platforms such as Twitter to root out fraudulent motor claims. 

Insurers have taken to using increasing amounts of data created by customers to set premiums and sell new products such as house, travel and health insurance.

“Protecting the privacy of the people on Facebook is of utmost importance to us,” Mark Zuckerberg’s web giant said. 

“We have clear guidelines that prevent information being obtained from Facebook from being used to make decisions about 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.” 


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November 3, 2016 |
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