Can Uber bounce back? The company president resigning this week is just the latest setback for a company plagued by allegations of automated lawbreaking, CEO Travis Kalanick embarrassing himself in front of one of his own employees, the revelation of an ugly sexual harassment problem the company has hired a former US Attorney General to solve, and above all, the #DeleteUber disaster. Now Uber’s trying to recover, even as it’s forced to admit the boycott severely dinged the company.
#DeleteUber grew out of protests over the Trump administration’s attempt to ban Muslims. In solidarity with protesters and refugees, New York taxi workers went on an hour-long strike. Uber didn’t participate, which only made it look worse as Kalanick was a member of Trump’s economic advisory council at the time, and #DeleteUber was born.
The New York Times, in a recap of a rare Uber conference call with reporters, notes that #DeleteUber was probably the company’s biggest disaster:
About half a million people requested deleting their Uber accounts over the course of that week, according to three people familiar with the company’s internal metrics who asked not to be named because the numbers are confidential. Those deletions have slowed drastically in recent weeks, and the company continues to add new users on a weekly basis, one of the people said.
That said, the damage might have been done. Many of those who deleted the app moved to other services like Moovn and are unlikely to return. As more rideshare services begin appearing, and as Uber seems unable to stem the tide of bad news about itself, Uber’s problems may just be starting.