by Catherine (Ching-Yuan) W’17
The #deleteuber campaign trends as netizens around the world scramble to delete their accounts from the popular taxi app, Uber.
On Saturday night, Jan 28, 2017, between 6 and 7 p.m., the New York Taxi Workers Alliance went on strike, halting taxi rides from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The protest was prompted by the recent executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday, which called for a temporary travel ban from seven majorly Muslim countries and the suspension of refugee admissions.
The alliance went on Twitter to inform U.S. citizens about the strike. Around two and a half hours after the alliance released the statement, Uber tweeted that the surge pricing (the increase of price when an increase in demand occurs) at the airport would be disabled.
The tweet caused an uproar among users. Customers accused Uber of advocating President Trump’s ban, and others disapproved of Uber’s ignorance, ultimately leading to the boycott against the app. Many users tweeted screenshots of themselves deleting their accounts and signing up for other ride-hailing companies with the caption “#deleteuber.”
Five hours after the initial tweet, Uber posted another tweet, stating that they oppose the travel ban and did not mean to undermine the taxi driver’s strike. However, the tweet did not prevent Uber from sustaining a significant loss. According to the Times, over 200,000 customers deleted their accounts.
Following the campaign, Lyft, a lead competitor of Uber, announced that they would donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union over the course of four years.
On their official blog, Lyft co-founders stated that “banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”
Since the pledge, Lyft has undergone a sharp increase in customers and, for the first time, surpassed Uber in app downloads.