BuzzFeed News obtained several screenshots of some internal data regarding rape and sexual assault complaints archived in Uber’s customer service system.
The original leaked data published by the popular news site showed that search queries from December 2012 through August 2015 returned more than 6,000 customer support tickets related to sexual assault.
Uber recently responded to denounce the validity of these claims. The ridesharing company said the numbers indicated in the search queries were “highly misleading.”
In a blog post, Uber detailed how these numbers could be skewed in such a drastic way. They noted:
- Passengers often misspelled "rate" as "rape", and some wrote messages such as "you raped my wallet"
- Names and email addresses containing "rape", such as Draper, were included in the search results
- Search results included complaints from people who had not actually traveled in an Uber
- The results included questions about sexual assault from customers who had seen the topic raised in news reports
The company said that a more accurate analysis of its search results returned only five conversations about alleged rape — which accounts for only 0.0000009% of more than 500 million Uber rides made in that time frame— and 170 messages included a “legitimate claim of sexual assault.”
Despite the damage control Uber attempted to employ in their response, they did admit that when serious incidents of this nature occur they are usually reported directly to law enforcement and therefore may not be reflected in their analysis.
"We're the first to admit that we haven't always gotten things right,” Uber said in a post on Medium. “But we are working hard to ensure passengers everywhere can get a safe, reliable ride.”
"Sadly, no means of transportation is 100 percent safe today. Accidents and incidents do happen.”
"It's why we are working to build an exceptional customer support team that can handle problems when they occur, including working with law enforcement."
While it is uncertain how true Uber’s rebuttal is, it’s still a bit unsettling that they refused to allow BuzzFeed to access the data they pulled their numbers from or view the company’s data analysis procedures.
Furthermore, once Uber caught wind of the leaked screenshots the company began contacting customer service representatives in the system that had searched the terms “rape” and “sexual assault” in the database — purportedly attempting to hunt down the traitor who leaked the images.
Regardless of how many or few sexual assault cases occurred, the release of this information is not at all good for Uber, which has already caught heat from drivers who are unhappy with recent fare cuts.
Now, the company will also have to answer to angry passengers who demand to be ensured that their safety is not at risk while using Uber’s services.
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