Why you should delete Uber ASAP

Uber’s reckless dance with ethics beyond redemption

Kunal Mehta

Uber is one of the dreams of a far more convenient future that has finally come true: at the press of a button, a personal car arrives, ready to take us wherever we would like to go. But the honeymoon is long over and with scores of ethical issues plaguing the company, ranging from misogyny to fraud, it’s time to press the button one last time and delete Uber.

To be clear, these aren’t new problems. We’ve ignored and dismissed them as small or unrelated issues, but the pattern of unacceptable behavior is now clear.

It would be easy to try and blame all the problems on CEO Travis Kalanick, whose cutthroat attitude has shaped the company culture, but it is deeper than that.

Instead of trying to beat competitor Lyft in the open market, Uber resorted to sabotage by having employees book and then cancel rides on Lyft in order to frustrate their drivers. If the Uber employees did show up for the ride, they would spend the entire time trying to recruit the driver to work for Uber instead.

Uber has decided that rules simply don’t apply to them. In order to continue operating in locations where its service has been ruled illegal, Uber implemented technology called “greyball” into their app to trick investigators and law enforcement.

Graphic by Neil McClintick

Apple CEO Tim Cook threatened Kalanick with removal of Uber from the Apple app store after discovering the company was violating Apple’s rules while simultaneously concealing its activity.

Sometimes Uber acts out of spite just to prove that it doesn’t need to follow the rules, like when it refused to pay $150 to the DMV for a self-driving car permit. It certainly didn’t help their case when one of those cars was caught on camera running a red light.

The most disturbing part is how poorly Uber treats its own employees. Former female employees of Uber have opened up about sexual harassment incidents and how Uber’s own HR department rebuffed and blackmailed them. Others reported hearing homophobic and ethnic slurs from managers if they did not perform well.

As consumers, we are given the power to selectively support companies, but at the same time we have the responsibility to ensure those companies are behaving ethically. Uber has shown time after time that it has no moral compass, so the ball is in our court now. Tap that app one last time and Delete Uber.