Driving from crisis to crisis, the Uber way

25 Nov 2014

Another day, another Uber embarrassment as a blog post linking prostitution to increased business mysteriously vanishes from Blog.uber.com.

Criticism of Uber has become so widespread and consistent that it’s almost like the ride-sharing company is trolling us.

As always, a recap. Of late Uber has faced criticism for claiming that smear campaigns against critical journalists is the way forward. Uber has also faced criticism for its hiring policies and sexist marketing campaigns in some parts of the world. 

Major cities such as Toronto and Berlin have campaigned against the service being available in their jurisdictions and the Twitter accounts of various executives have featured numerous apologies.

Now this.

“Areas of San Francisco with the most prostitution, alcohol, theft, and burglary also have the most Uber rides,” reads a 2011 report by Uber (since removed, but cached here) which investigates the peaks and troughs of the company’s activities.

The post and its removal was spotted by Gina Neff, associate professor of communication at University of Washington and school of public policy, Central European University.



“Of course this isn’t causal. Uber riders are not causing more crime. Right guys?” says the report, attributed to the ‘Uber Science Team’, since removed from its blog.

In a data heavy look into the company’s varying demand throughout San Francisco, Uber looked at where, when and why its business may rise or fall. It also compared the results to crime reports in the city, drawing correlations between specific crimes, their location, and Uber demand.

However the report is now removed, no doubt planned as a way to lessen any more media embarrassment for the company.


Man driving a car image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic