It has been almost a month since January 28th, the first day of the #DeleteUber campaign that we have discussed in class on numerous occasions. Despite how ground breaking this campaign was at the time, due to the fast paced nature of social media this had ceased to be a focal point not only on the Twitter feed but also on the various news sources that initially covered it. Unfortunately for Uber, this fading into the background of the #DeleteUber movement came to an end this past Sunday, February 19th.
The public controversy over Uber was reignited on February 19th when Susan Fowler, a former Uber site reliability engineer (SRE) who resigned from the company in December, published a post on her blog titled “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year at Uber”. Her post outlines her experience during the year of her career spent at Uber, exposing details on the multiple instances she was subject to both sexism and sexual harassment at the company. Despite her numerous attempts to report this behavior, no action was ever taken against those responsible. This pattern occurred repeatedly up until what Fowler deemed the final straw: when an Uber HR representative implied that since Fowler was the common denominator in all the reports she filed, this must be her fault.
For those interested in reading all the details of each report she filed see the link to her original post here.
The severity of this issue and its effects on Uber’s workforce is highlighted by the statistics Fowler presents at the end of her post: when she first began her career at Uber her group consisted of over 25% women. By the time she left the company a year later that percentage had subsequently decreased to 6%.
“Women were transferring out of the organization, and those who couldn’t transfer were quitting or preparing to quit”-Susan Fowler
“We seek to make Uber a just workplace FOR EVERYONE and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber – and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired.”-Travis Kalanick
Due to how recently this second #DeleteUber campaign occurred, it is still too early to find official estimates on just how many more users will take action and delete their accounts. Nonetheless, it will definitely be interesting to watch this saga play out. It seems Uber is getting themselves into dangerous territory by garnering public criticism that has the real potential to alienate many customers, driving those users to switch to competitors’ services.
Food for Thought
Would you #DeleteUber due to the recent controversies they have been involved in? Do you believe the company has responded appropriately to each wave of these calls on Twitter to #DeleteUber? Is this a serious threat for their business? Comment what you think!