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Insurer plans to read your Facebook for cheaper car insurance (or not)

UK insurer Admiral thinks exclamation marks or vague language in your status updates might suggest you're a bad driver.

All hands on deck in UK insurer Admiral's advert.

Admiral

An insurance company is planning to analyse your personality and adjust your premium accordingly -- by scanning what you say on Facebook.

UK insurer Admiral has announced Firstcarquote, a scheme aimed at people buying or driving their first car. When you request a quote, Admiral takes a snapshot of Facebook posts you have written, particularly in the last six months. If the analysis reveals markers that suggest you have the personality traits of a safe driver, you could secure you a discount on your insurance premium.

Speaking to The Guardian, Admiral's data scientists explained that the technology analyses the language you use in your Facebook posts. For example, heavy use of exclamation marks could suggest overconfidence, while short sentences indicate you're organised and concrete plans with friends suggest decisiveness.

However, privacy advocate Open Rights Group points out Facebook's rules explicitly ban companies from using data on the social network to make decisions about whether people are eligible for services such as loans. We've asked Admiral and Facebook about that, but they haven't immediately responded.