Understand How Uber Used Questionable Tactics to Grow Business, Investigation Finds | Technology

Uber blamed the problems on co-founder and former president Travis Kalanick – after allegations of sexual harassment, he left the company in 2017.

Kalanick, in turn, denied the allegations made by the journalists’ investigation.

  • Dubbed the “Uber Files”, the investigation carried out by dozens of vehicles shows that representatives of the company took advantage of the taxi industry’s sometimes violent backlash against their drivers to gain support and evade regulatory authorities as they sought to conquer new markets;
  • Reports say the files reveal that Uber also lobbied governments to help its expansion, finding in Emmanuel Macron, the economy minister between 2014 and 2016, an ally in France. The company believed the current French president would encourage regulators “to be ‘less conservative’ in their interpretation of rules limiting the company’s operation,” the Post said;
  • Macron was openly supportive of Uber and the idea of ​​turning France into a “nation of enterprise” in general, but leaked documents suggest the then-minister’s endorsement was at odds with the government’s left-wing policies;
  • The investigation notes that Uber’s actions are illegal and that its executives knew this, citing one of them as joking about the fact that they had become “pirates”;
  • According to The Guardian, Uber has adopted similar tactics in countries such as Belgium, Holland, Spain and Italymobilizing drivers and encouraging them to report them to the police when they were victims of violence, in order to use media coverage to their advantage;
  • Uber drivers across Europe faced violent reprisals from taxi drivers who saw them as a threat to their livelihoods. The investigation found that “in some cases, when drivers were attacked, Uber executives reacted quickly to capitalize” on seeking regulatory and public support, the Post reported;
  • Uber’s rapid expansion has been underpinned by driver subsidies and fare discounts that have hit the cabbie market and “often without seeking licenses to operate as a taxi or limousine service,” according to The Washington Post;
  • The investigation also indicates that Uber worked to avoid regulatory investigations by taking advantage of a technological advantage, the Post wrote. The paper described the moment when co-founder and former chairman Travis Kalanick implemented an “emergency button” to remotely remove access to Uber’s internal systems on devices at one of its Amsterdam offices during an inspection by authorities;
  • “Violence guarantees success,” Kalanick, according to the investigation, wrote to another of the company’s leaders while promoting a counter-protest amid the 2016 demonstrations in Paris against the arrival of Uber.

How the investigation was done:

  • in total, there are 124 thousand documents from 2013 to 2017initially obtained by the British newspaper The Guardian and later shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
  • The documents include text and email exchanges between executives, including co-founder and former chairman Travis Kalanick, who was forced to resign in 2017 over allegations of brutal management practices and multiple episodes of sexual and psychological harassment within the company. company.

What Uber and Kalanick say:

Kalanick’s spokeswoman, Devon Spurgeon, vehemently denied the findings, claiming that he “never suggested that Uber took advantage of violence at the expense of its drivers’ safety.” The company, however, shifted the blame on Sunday to Kalanick’s leadership, whose “mistakes” have already come to light.

“We’ve moved from an era of confrontation to one of collaboration, demonstrating a willingness to come to the table and find points of agreement with former opponents, including unions and taxi companies,” Uber said, noting that his replacement, Dara Khosrowshahi, “was charged with to transform every aspect of how Uber operates.”

The spokeswoman also stated that the executive “has never authorized any action or program that would obstruct justice in any country.” Kalanick “has never been charged in any jurisdiction with obstruction of justice or any other related crime,” she added.

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