Uber, one of the fastest growing and most popular technology startups to exist, has been the center of much controversy surrounding their competitive practices, scandals, and disruptive nature of the business.
With the ousting of the founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, the company now is hoping to introduce new policies that will revitalize its image. Beyond hiring a new CEO, the biggest move that the company has implemented has been the increased privacy for users.
Although it is necessary for the app to utilize the GPS and location function to pick up and drop riders off, Uber no longer keeps track of the destinations, pickup locations, and route that a user takes. Previously, the app could have recorded a user’s location after they have left the Uber for a certain amount of time. While this was unknown to the rider, it has drawn a significant amount of criticism for infringing on the privacy of its users. As this feature has been said to violate what the rider have agreed to share with the company, the update will disable the company from tracking beyond the ride.
a particular project from the company involves deploying software to create fake accounts which would track the location and prices of Lyft drivers
This is one of the many updates that are being rolled out to both the public as well as organizational practices that are associated with Uber. For example, once it was realized that Uber was engaging in competitive practices that involved calling rides from fake accounts or poaching drivers from competing companies as well as underpaying its drivers, a shakedown of high level executives of Uber shifted its focus on growing through more traditional methods. With this comes another investigation by the FBI for practices that may have been considered illegal. For example, it is said that a particular project from the company involves deploying software to create fake accounts which would track the location and prices of Lyft drivers. Through this, the company could undercut its competitor and also offer various incentives to Lyft drivers to leave and join Uber instead.
With so much controversy surrounding the company, this massive shift along with many others is one of the first steps that it is taking to maintain its reputation as a ride-sharing platform. Whether or not these attempts yield higher profits or more riders is still highly questionable as a significant barrier that is yet to be solved such as how it impacts traditional taxi drivers in cities across the world.