Admiral, one of the UK’s biggest insurance companies was set to start using Facebook data to understand the personalities of car owners and set the price of their insurance. But Facebook put a stop to it.
Data, big data, social media data, nowadays everyone talks about data. But rare are the examples of great and creative use of it. This unprecedented move from UK’s Admiral will define the new era of how companies use personal data to mould their offerings.
When looking for new car insurance, Admiral wanted to scan your Facebook account, trying to identify personality traits that are linked to safe driving. The feature was optional, but could potentially save first-time car owners up to £350 a year. It aimed to scan through your Facebook posts and likes, to establish your driver’s profile. For example, writing in short concrete sentences, using lists, or being thorough and precise when arranging to meet friends, could show that you are as a safe driver. On the other hand, overuse of exclamation marks or strong adverbs of frequency – i.e. always or never rather than sometimes, maybe or oftentimes – could get you qualified as being overconfident.
The scheme, called firstcarquote, aimed at first-time car owners and young drivers across the UK, was to be launched this week. But Facebook has put a stop to it even before it could go live.
Facebook blocked the app because it would contravene with its Platform Policy. This states that developers cannot “use data 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.” Admiral is now looking for a workaround and hopes to relaunch soon.
The move marks the beginning of a new era of using social media data to personalise experiences and services for consumers. Yes, privacy is a thing, and data should only be used carefully. But a recent study from the CMO council actually showed that 53% of online users expect companies to provide them with better offers based on the use of their personal data. So there you go. Now all we will have to deal with are the limits set by the social media platforms. And that is not going to be an easy task.
What do you think of this initiative from Admiral?