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Uber denies claims of ‘phantom cars’ on apps

The transportation service has denied that its app is misleading to users.

08/06/2015 // JusticeNewsFlash // (press release)

UK – Uber is denying accusations that its application is misleading to users because of “phantom cars” that are allegedly being displayed on it. The Guardian reported that two researchers from the Data & Society thinktank, Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark, made the accusations in an article, citing driver and passenger testimonies. Suggestions were made that Uber’s app allegedly displays vehicles present in a passenger’s vicinity that aren’t really there.

An Uber customer-support representative was also cited as telling a passenger “This is not a representation of the exact numbers of drivers or their location… This is more of a visual effect, letting people know that partners are searching for fares. I know this seems a misleading to you but it is meant as more of a visual effect more than an accurate location of drivers in the area. It would be better of you to think of this as a screen saver on a computer.”

A spokesperson for Uber UK is quoted as stating to The Guardian that the cars are not fake, the app may just be on occasion not up to date on the time asserting, “Our goal is for the number of cars and their location to be as accurate as possible in real time… Latency is one reason this is not always possible. Another reason is that the app only shows the nearest eight cars to avoid cluttering the screen. Also, to protect the safety of drivers, in some volatile situations, the app doesn’t show the specific location of individual cars until the ride is requested.”

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