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Last Week Online #48 – Rape and murder, Uber or Netflix?

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
2 min read

Is it fair to give employees a script on how to answer questions from friends and family?

Nine murders and 5 981 sexual assaults – "Uber is a reflection of the society it serves"

This week, Uber released its first-ever report about safety during Uber rides in the US. The report, spanning over all of 2018 and part of 2017, reveals nine murders during Uber rides, and 58 people died in car accidents while riding Uber. The company tries to put these number into context by comparing them to the 36 000 auto-related deaths in 2018 and 20 000 homicides in 2017.

On top of that, 3 045 sexual assaults happened during Uber trips last year, up from 2 936 in 2017. Uber states that 235 if the cases in 2018 were rapes, and the rest being varying levels of assault (the vast majority involved unwanted kissing or touching). Drivers are reporting offences at roughly the same rate as riders, according to the report, including the most severe forms of sexual assault. However, the sexual assault numbers are likely to be far higher in reality, given that it often goes unreported.

"What it says is that Uber is a reflection of the society it serves," said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshani in a public statement on Twitter. He "suspects many people will be surprised at how rare these incidents are; others will understandably think they’re still too common," and goes on to say, "They will all be right." According to Uber, users took 3.1 million trips per day on its platform during the period covered by the report, and there were 1.3 billion trips in total in the US in 2018.

Facebook helps its employees deal with friends and family over the holidays

A lot of people worry about spending time with family over the holidays. But Facebook employees are more worried than most and told their managers that they were concerned about having to answer difficult questions about their workplace from friends and family.

Therefore, right before Thanksgiving, Facebook rolled out a chatbot to help their employees and teach them "official company answers" for dealing with critical questions. If asked about how Facebook handles hate speech, for example, the bot suggests the employee answer with these points:

  • Facebook consults with experts on the matter.
  • It has hired more moderators to police its content.
  • It is working on A.I. to spot hate speech.
  • Regulation is important for addressing the issue.

The answers – put together by Facebook’s PR department – repeats what company executives have publicly said before. "Our employees regularly ask for information to use with friends and family on topics that have been in the news, especially around the holidays," a Facebook spokesperson said. "We put this into a chatbot, which we began testing this spring."

The Cambridge Analytica scandal comes to an end

On Friday, Federal Trade Commission said that they found the (now defunct) British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had deceived consumers about the collection of Facebook data for voter profiling and targeting. The decision comes after Facebook, back in July, agreed to pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine to the FTC, to settle a government investigation into its privacy practices.

The FTC voted 5-0 to issue the opinion and final order against Cambridge Analytica. However, the impact of the agency order is not immediately apparent as the consultancy firm is no longer in business.

The investigation into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica started with allegations that Facebook violated a 2012 consent decree by inappropriately sharing information belonging to 87 million users with Cambridge Analytica. Among the clients was President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.

Tool of the week: Recordit

Have you ever wished you could make a GIF from your screen directly? Not yet? Well, when you do find yourself in that situation, Recordit will be your saviour. Install it, record, and out comes a gif. You can then include it in emails, social media posts or keynote presentations.

Pretty handy. Give it a try!

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.

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