Wednesday, February 1, 2017

#DeleteUber: Social Media and Exploiting Tragedy

When President Trump ordered his Immigration Ban protests around the country erupted. One of the biggest protests being at the JFK International Airport, where thousands were gathered to show their outrage over the ban. A large group protesting was the New York Taxi Worker Alliance which stated that they would make no pickups to the JFK airport in respond to the ban. This made apps like Uber and Lyft the only way for people to get rides out of the airport if they did not have a car.

Due to the increase in rides needed at the area people who use the app Uber knows that there would be a needed "Surge Price", which is when due to the increase of rides in one area, prices go up so more drivers go to the location to get people home. Yet soon after the Taxi Union announced their protest, Uber sent out a tweet saying how surge pricing would be removed from JFK airport. Many took this as a way for Uber to profit by trying to exploit the taxi strike, and soon the hashtag #DeleteUber went viral immediately. 

Uber has since tried to fix their actions by telling people that they had no intention of exploiting the protests. An Uber official put out a statement short after the tweet went viral, saying " "It was not meant to break up any strike. We wanted people to know they could use Uber to get to and from JFK at normal prices, especially last night." Yet Uber still was still losing many users as #DeleteUber continued to spread. 

Now while deleting Uber users may be awful for that company, it is fantastic for rival companies like Lyft. Not only were users deleting the app but turning to the other company instead as an alternative. Even the rapper MadeinTYO, who went viral with his hit song "Uber Everywhere" went on Twitter and tweeted his dislike with the company and followed up by saying @Lyft Everywhere.  

We can see that using Rhetoric, by simply tweeting their thoughts to the world, many were changing people's opinions on Uber. Using Pathos, people tried to play into the emotions of others by saying how Uber was exploiting a tragedy, and by doing that might as well have been supporting Trump's ban. We see how something as simple as a hashtag can effect the way people think and act. Not only do we see this in how people reacted negatively to Uber but we can see it in the way it was positive towards Lyft. 

Not only did Lyft get an endorsement from a celebrity but they came out  with a statement after the #DeleteUber hashtag was flying around. The statement was that Lyft would be donating a million dollars to the American Civil Liberties Organisation over the next four years in a help to try and stop acts like this from happening. Soon after this was announced more tweets came out, not only to promote the deletion of Uber but to just simply promote Lyft. This shows that using Pathos once again can use peoples emotions to also promote, as many are encouraged and inspired by the company they not only change their political beliefs but also which car service to use. While both companies could be exploiting this event as a marketing ploy or just doing the right thing, either way it helped lose and gain a lot of business. 


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