Uber’s PR Nightmare, a Field Guide

Uber’s PR Nightmare, a Field Guide
The Uber app shows an image of available rides near MacDougal and West 3rd in New York City.

When a company’s reputation tanks, everything looks like a scandal.

A lot of people seem to hate Uber. But the paradoxical thing about the ride-sharing giant’s notoriety is that it’s both unfair and totally justified.

Taxi companies have long railed against Uber for disrupting their industry—but people flocked to ride-sharing for its convenience and reliability. (In other words, taxis were dominating a sector that was theirs to lose.) Misinformation has, at times, cemented the company’s bad reputation.

Then again, Uber has messed up—deeply and repeatedly—for years now.

Even for a company that’s infamously scandalous, 2017 has been a banner year. Which means that, these days, every new revelation seems like more bad news for Uber—even when it’s maybe not so straightforward.

If another company had built a secret program to track its competitors the way Uber reportedly tracked Lyft drivers, it might have been praised as savvy in a fiercely competitive industry—even if a little creepy. Not so much with Uber. (But I mean, come on, did they have to call the secret program “Hell”?)

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