By Robbie Hanlon, Staff Writer
The popular transportation app Uber has had more than its share of accusations and scandals against it in the past few months, and it has come under fire again with reports that the app uses “psychological tricks” on their drivers in order to convince them to drive more.
Methods such as constant acknowledgment that the drivers are approaching their monetary goal, badges awarding achievements on the job, and notifications alerting the presence of dense areas of needy riders are a few of the tactics used by the app, which has also recently been in the limelight for issues of sexual harassment, underpayment, accidents caused by faulty self-driving cars, and many high ranking members of the company abruptly quitting.
So you can see why Uber’s every move is being watched these days.
However, for as much scandal as Uber has been surrounded by in the recent months, the newest scandal has been way overblown, and the company’s incredible string of public relations disasters is most likely what has brought this newest scandal on.
Rival ride-hailing app Lyft, in fact, has been connected to using similar tactics on its own app, with far less blowback, likely due to it steering clear of the negative spotlight.
The “scandal,” in fact, is hardly a scandal at all. It is simply the result of extra scrutiny due to a less than stellar reputation. This can often lead the public to jump on the first sign of controversy they see.
The strategy of psychologically persuading drivers to drive more is perfectly acceptable, especially considering Uber drivers are allowed to create their own hours freely, logging in and out whenever they want.
Uber has a business to run, and they need drivers out on the road at all times.
If notifications and compliments can subconsciously achieve that, then it’s well within Uber’s rights to do that. It isn’t illegal or even immoral, like the company’s previous brushes with controversy. This time, it’s just business.