In this Internet era which connects everyone and everything, more and more companies are trying to embrace technology to modernize their business practices. However, things don't always work out as planned. That's basically what happened with Firstcarquote, an app developed by Admiral Insurance, one of the largest insurance firms in the United Kingdom. The Wales-based company recently came up with the idea to introduce an app which would scan Facebook posts from its users, analyze them, and price a car insurance premium based on what its algorithms find. While new and existing customers wouldn't be forced to use this method to calculate their insurance charges, Facebook stopped the idea before Admiral got the chance to launch the app.
According to the social media giant, Admiral broke its platform policy rules which state that developers cannot use information Facebook users share with them to make decisions on eligibility of any kind, especially when those decisions have financial consequences. It's worth noting that Admiral's representatives claim that their algorithms aren't superficial and were designed to use text updates from Facebook users to deduce their core personality traits which are then used as a basis for calculating any potential premium discounts. More specifically, the company claims that the Firstcarquote app would try to identify individuals that are more organized, responsible, and not overly confident in order to offer them car premium discounts. Of course, not everyone agrees with that assessment and the Welsh insurance firm has already faced accusations about mixing business practices with pseudoscience and trying to invade its customers' privacy. While Facebook didn't go that far, it did stop this idea before it was executed.
It's worth noting that Admiral hasn't dropped the idea of launching Firstcarquote and has only stated that the app was delayed for the time being. As for Facebook, it's not hard to imagine why the company has issues with this kind of data-gathering conducted by third parties. If companies start using information from Facebook users to award and penalize them, that may incentivize their customers to start writing dishonest posts which would consequently make Facebook's targeted advertising algorithms less precise, leading to Facebook making less money from its core business.