London - Facebook has blocked plans by an insurance company to snoop on the profiles of young people to check whether they might be risky drivers.
Admiral Insurance had hoped to test a new scheme using special software to analyse motorists’ social media activity and use that information to set premiums.
If a driver using its new app was considered a low risk they would then have been offered a reduced quote for their car insurance. Motorists whose Facebook posts showed cautious personality traits, such as writing lists and arranging a set time and place to meet friends, could have received a discount of up to 15 percent.
But as the insurer prepared to launch the scheme, Facebook refused to allow it permission.
The social media giant said it would let people use their accounts to log in to Admiral’s app, but will not allow the insurer to view users’ posts to set premiums.
A spokesman for Facebook said: “Protecting the privacy of the people on Facebook is of utmost importance to us.”
An Admiral spokesman said the firm was now launching a simpler app which let first-time drivers get quotes via Facebook.
The company stressed that it does not have access to customers’ information on Facebook, and does not hold social media data to set prices for its customers.