Investigation questions alarming number of sexual assault complaints in Uber database


As for “sexual assault”, Uber tells BuzzFeed the high volume query results on the obtained screenshots could be the result of riders making claims of assault on other transport services and discussions about sexual assaults in the news, among other things.

The statistics indicate that there are 6,160 customer support tickets that include the phrase “sexual assault” and 5,827 for “rape” that span about 33 months – from December 2012 to August 2015. Uber insists the data shown in the images is not an accurate representation of the number of legitimate sexual assault complaints it receives. And the number of emails that “allege an actual rape occurred” is just five, despite 5,180 emails containing the word “rape”, Uber said.
Once BuzzFeed started poking around, Uber “began contacting customer service representatives in its system who had searched the Zendesk database for the terms….apparently in a hunt for the leaker”.
The statement added that Uber has invested heavily in technology to improve safety for everyone before, during, and after each ride.
Ride-hailing app maker Uber has hit back at claims that thousands of its customers have filed complaints about sexual assaults. “After analyzing the data, we found more than 11,000 rider names and 17,500 rider emails with the letters “rape” would also be reflected in the data.
The company has restated its policy of contacting anyone who reports a “serious incident” to Uber, working with law enforcement “where appropriate”, and temporarily suspending drivers and riders alike during any investigation, depending on which is facing the accusation. But in their response to the news outlet, Uber representatives claimed that there are “flaws” in these screenshots, and that they do not tell the full story. These officials suggested that the thousands of tickets matching that search query may have been caused by “reports from riders who were making claims about sexual assault on other transport services, discussions about sexual assaults in the news, and reports about passengers who got into cars that were not Uber vehicles and were then sexually assaulted”. There were also “fewer than” 170 complaints of sexual assault over the same period, equal to 1 in every 3.3 million trips.
Details of Uber’s instructions for support centre staff were also among the leaked screenshots. “Even one incident of this nature is one too many”.