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Uber dismisses report saying it received “thousands” of sexual assault claims

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Uber has defended itself against a Buzzfeed News report based on leaked internal data indicating that the car-sharing company had received “thousands” of rape and sexual assault complaints. According to the report, a search for the keyword “sexual assault” in Uber’s customer-service database came back with 6,160 results, while search term “rape” gave some 5,827 results. Three executives for the company, however, explained in a rebuttal published on Medium that these results were highly misleading, as they contained many false positives. For example, customers would misspell “rate” as “rape” or use the word in a context unrelated to the actual crime (e.g. “you raped my wallet”). They added: “The results also showed tickets from passengers who got into cars not on the Uber platform, or who were discussing unsubstantiated media reports of sexual assaults.” The company, which has been plagued by allegations of sexual assault in the past, claims that between December 2012 and August 2015 it only received five complaints alleging rape and 170 with a “legitimate claim of sexual assault.” The company reiterated that it takes such complaints seriously, working with law enforcement “where appropriate” and temporarily suspending drivers or riders who are under investigation for sexual assault. Buzzfeed has included the rebuttal in its original article, but still disputes the company’s numbers since Uber was not willing to grant the news website “direct access to the data, or view its data analysis procedures.”

Read the full story at The Guardian and Buzzfeed.

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