Tuesday, January 31, 2017

#DeleteUber - The Court of Public Opinion

This past weekend America was rocked to its core, not only in light of President Trump’s new executive orders but when twitter showed just how powerful it can really be.

For those of you who missed it, here is a recap on the #DeleteUber campaign – all taxi drivers in New York City went on strike following the news of President’s Trumps executive order on immigration. Specifically, they were doing a ride “stoppage” from 6pm – 7pm on Saturday, January 28th. Uber responded to said strike by dropping their surge pricing (higher price points for busier times) in order to accommodate for the ride shortages coming out of JFK International Airport, and then chaos ensued. People started accusing the corporation of “strike-breaking” and making profits off of a Muslim Ban, which in turn created a PR nightmare for Uber. A campaign started up shortly after those remarks urging all Uber users to delete their Uber apps. The #DeleteUber campaign has had 100,000’s of hit worldwide and is still growing. The actual damage done to Uber, as a company, is still TBD at this point.

Here’s what I don’t get about social media - there’s this underlying need to “Freak out now, fact check later”. Once Uber issued it’s statement on the surge pricing (via Tweet),  everyone just jumped to the assumption that the CEO was deliberately trying to interfere with the Taxi Strike. Where is the proof of malice intent? There is none, at least none that is of public knowledge. What’s even more frustrating is – I’d be willing to bet a good majority of the users sharing the #deleteuber tag have read NOTHING about what happened. They just saw an article on their feed titled “Uber hates Muslims” or something to that effect and then deleted their Uber account.  And I don’t know if Uber genuinely wanted to make a profit on Trump’s “Muslim Ban”, maybe they did, but is it right to condemn an entire corporation over one TWEET?

This use of social media to attack has become a theme in modern American Culture; the most chilling part is that our President plays a huge role in this  - taking to twitter to disarm anyone who dares to disagree with him.  In addition why are we so quick to react to something as simple as a hashtag? When will we learn that gathering the information we need to form opinions is just as, if not more, important than spouting out said opinion on the Internet.


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