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Uber Asks Everyone To Stop Making It The New Tinder (sfgate.com) 150

Ride-sharers have been using Uber and Lyft "carpool" apps to meet dates -- and now Uber's trying to stop it. An anonymous reader quotes SFGate: This week Uber updated their community guidelines to discourage passengers from using the ride-sharing app as a hook-up opportunity. Some Uber and Lyft riders have been using the car-pooling option as a way to meet or hook up with others. But Uber is not pleased and has advised users to not flirt or touch passengers. "It's OK to chat with other people in the car. But please don't comment on someone's appearance or ask whether they are single," Uber's guidelines state.
Their new policy now specifically states that "Uber has a no sex rule. That's no sexual conduct between drivers and riders, no matter what."
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Uber Asks Everyone To Stop Making It The New Tinder

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  • by duckintheface ( 710137 ) on Saturday December 10, 2016 @12:40PM (#53459263)

    One more piece of evidence (if more were needed) to show that the "independent contractor" fantasy is phony. Uber wants to call it's drivers contractors so they don't have to pay minimum wage or offer benefits. But if drivers really were contractors, it would be none of Uber's business if flirtation or consensual sex were on the menu of services offered.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday December 10, 2016 @12:52PM (#53459307)
      the courts are pretty well stacked with a pro corporate / anti-worker bias. The folks who favor Uber's model have been taking over the courts by winning local elections via heavy money spending and gerrymandering for 20 years. I guess it's just another example of our "post-truth" society. If Uber was going to lose on facts they would have done so by now. Hell, they've more or less won every court case so far. Worker's rights went out the window when the blue collar and white collar guys started fighting among themselves and solidarity went out the window...
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Maybe that is the case in the US, but elsewhere Uber has lost some major cases [digitaltrends.com], including being kicked out of some countries altogether. I have no sympathy at all for companies whose business model is "illegally profit by avoiding social responsibility" by either tax dodging or in this case avoiding giving their workers due privileges.

        • As an ex-taxi driver Uber look remarkably similar to old fashioned racketeers with deep pockets. In those jurisdictions where lawmakers have capitulated to Uber's 'corporate disobedience' tactics society will be spending the next 20-30yrs reinventing a well regulated taxi industry.
          • In 20-30 years, no human will be driving any commercial vehicle. Uber is just using "independent contractors" as a crutch until self driving cars replace all taxis.

      • Only 20 years?
        Are you only 20 years old?

        There has always been a gap between the big boss man and the workers. Communism started because of these issues.
        During the 1990s we were at a peak. Cold War ended we were for the most part at peace with the world. People were working to fix the Y2K bug or replacing their infrastructure.
        It was mostly due to circumstances and the tech bubble. Not politics.

        Part of the issue from getting out of the 2008 Recession is the fact we do not have too many major players that

        • The gig economy is nothing new. from Victorian times up to the 1930s crowds of men would push and jostle in front of the factory gates hoping to get lucky that day.

          • The gig economy is nothing new. from Victorian times up to the 1930s crowds of men would push and jostle in front of the factory gates hoping to get lucky that day.

            You're confusing the gig economy with underemployment. Right now, we have the former but (relatively speaking) not the latter.

        • During the 1990s we were at a peak.

          That would be the 50's.

          • Why would you say that? There was a underemployed working class made up just by skin color. Afraid of trying something new in fear of being labeled a communist. You better make sure most of your income goes to keeping up impressions.

      • Uber's been losing all the cases I've been following. Now, they immediately appeal, and the consequences are suspended while they appeal, but so far they've lost in, IIRC, California, New York Washington and Mass.

        • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday December 10, 2016 @03:45PM (#53460091)
          it's only a matter of how much they pay. But that won't change how they treat employees as contractors when it's convenient for them. Still no benefits, not workman's comp, no unemployment insurance payments and no matching Social Security or Medicare payments.

          It's especially bad for SS & Medicare. The 'gig' economy is going to be a big part of dismantling what's left of the safety net. It'll pull billions out of those systems and then the right wing will point to a lack of funds as a reason to privatize the system (they don't want to do away with it, they want to pocket the money for themselves...)
          • It's especially bad for SS & Medicare.

            Only if people cheat at reporting. And given 1099s, they cannot make much from Uber while cheating. Contractors are required to pay both the employee and the employer portions of SS & Medicare.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Correct..... the moment the company begins to directly spell out details of worker mannerisms and conduct about the way people actually behave or present themselves while working, rather than the way the job is to be completed,
      they begin to get in trouble as no longer contracting these people, but are just an employee trying to evade regulations and taxes, they are employing them, since they specify not only work to be accomplished but required worker conditions as well.

      • Again, bullshit. Contractors are representatives of the company they contract for. There are no restrictions on requesting them to behave in a certain manner. You guys seem to think contracting is some sort of freewheeling deal. It isn't.
        • Contractors are representatives of the company they contract for. There are no restrictions on requesting them to behave in a certain manner.

          I think you might want to qualify that.

        • In some countries, like Canada any kind of contract relationship that looks too much like an employer-employee relationship can be deemed as such, and there have been companies nailed very hard if they're determined to be an employer; particular when it comes to various payroll taxes or violating maximum weekly hours.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Saturday December 10, 2016 @01:22PM (#53459451)

      Having worked as an independent contractor before. I still needed to follow the rules of my customer. In this case the customer is Uber. States when hiring contractors often having rules where the need to disclose their incomes, bonuses if they are a minority...

      • Disclosing your income, bonuses, and whether you are a minority are not dictating your conduct. Certain professions have a code of ethics that governs the profession that prohibits, for example, any sex between a doctor and patient, a teacher and a child student, or a guard and a prisoner, because in such relationships there is an inequality of power between the two parties, so free consent legally cannot exist.

        There is no similar imbalance of power between a random Uber driver and a client unless the driv

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        Having worked as an independent contractor before. I still needed to follow the rules of my customer.

        Do you? Employees generally have all kinds of rules, most of which don't make any sense unless you're an actual employee. So what specific rules am I required to follow and which ones do I not follow? Unless it's spelled out specifically, it sounds like I'm the one interpreting which rules I have to follow. Everything else is just an assumption on their part.

        I've never had an contract employer make me read the handbook and sign the paper that says I read it.

        Of course all of this is just a mere formality

    • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Saturday December 10, 2016 @01:50PM (#53459581) Homepage Journal
      Bullshit. Contractors have to follow the companies guidelines when they are working, or they get fired. Do you think government contractors go around and are allowed to sexually harass people in the office just because they are contractors?
      • by nadass ( 3963991 )
        @110010001000, where do you draw the line? When prayer rules/rights/wrongs are dictated, or termination for smoking at home (cuz the employer doesn't like the idea), or restricting bathroom breaksto 5 minutes once every 2 hours (even if you're pregnant), or when a hello/goodbye handshake or high-five is reclassified physical contact and an overt precursor to aggravated sexual assault (cuz you know that's what ALWAYS happens).
      • Contractors have to follow the companies guidelines when they are working, or they get fired. Do you think government contractors go around and are allowed to sexually harass people in the office just because they are contractors?

        In the office? No. In the middle east? Yep.

    • by greenbird ( 859670 ) on Saturday December 10, 2016 @02:02PM (#53459633)

      But if drivers really were contractors, it would be none of Uber's business if flirtation or consensual sex were on the menu of services offered.

      Ummm, that's just stupid. They're contractors. There's a contract between the drivers and Uber. Both sides have to agree to and abide by the terms of the contract. Uber sets all kinds of conditions in the contract. Including this condition is no different than condition regulating the type of car or anything else.

      In other words your argument is completely fallacious both logically and legally.

      • Except the more control that Uber puts over drivers, the more likely they are to cross from "contractor" to "employee". Heck, feel free to check with the government [irs.gov]

        • Except the more control that Uber puts over drivers, the more likely they are to cross from "contractor" to "employee".

          Certain types of control get into a gray area, yes. Regulating the type of cars allowed would likely cross that line. Regulating the the cars must meet certain minimum standers likely shouldn't. Regulating the services provided is fundamental to the business. The standard of the service is too. Guidelines on sexual contact isn't in that gray area. Actually not regulating this would likely raise safe workplace environment issues. The list of the regulations that would cross over to employee is list below. P

        • Except the more control that Uber puts over drivers, the more likely they are to cross from "contractor" to "employee". Heck, feel free to check with the government [irs.gov]

          Except this is not behavioural control. This is code of conduct and abiding by a company's code of conduct is a standard part of any contract. If this is your argument for considering them employees it is damn weak, there are far better examples in Uber's conduct for this.

      • by nadass ( 3963991 )
        @greenbird, where do you draw the line? When prayer rules/rights/wrongs are dictated, or termination for smoking at home (cuz the employer doesn't like the idea), or restricting bathroom breaksto 5 minutes once every 2 hours (even if you're pregnant), or when a hello/goodbye handshake or high-five is reclassified physical contact and an overt precursor to aggravated sexual assault (cuz you know that's what ALWAYS happens).
      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        As far as I was aware, the only restriction they make on the type of car is that it cannot have any markings that associate it with any particular person, company, or product other than the manufacturer of the vehicle itself.
    • I'm currently an independent contractor, and still had to agree to my client's non-disclosure terms, rules of conduct, etc, in order to take on that contract. I'm not saying I agree with Uber's notion of a "independent contractor". I'm just saying that *actual* independent contractors have to sign and adhere to workspace-specific agreements all the time. So, I don't think that's necessarily a useful metric.

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Saturday December 10, 2016 @12:48PM (#53459289)

    This week Uber updated their community guidelines to discourage passengers from using the ride-sharing app as a hook-up opportunity.

    Along with complete instructions on how it can be done. But you shouldn't follow those instructions. But if you do it will work quite well.

    • Do you mean something like the prohibition-era instructions on fruit juice: "On no account allow yeast (such as from bread or rotting fruit) to come into contact with it, and if it does don't leave it in a warmish place for a few days..."

  • Seems like a natural extension of their platform. I am wondering how they could have not seen this possibility, and how they think they can prevent this.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Combine it with Uber Eats and you've got yourself an entire night out, right there in the back seat.

      • In the back seat? Only if the Uber car is on of those '50s roadmasters in Cuba, or you're both midgets, or you actually enjoy physical discomfort, or you just lay there dead (though there are probably some people get off on having a dead f*ck [urbandictionary.com] - probably pretending they're necrophiliacs).

    • Their platform? People will fuck.

      They're literally trying to stop sex. Not gonna happen.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Next thing you know you will have discounted rides and "Sex" expected as part of the payment for the transaction

      It may be a completely natural extension to the platform, but I could see why Uber might have obvious objections, As
      this potentially eliminates their business model ---- it is a potential compromise on the professionalism, And this is fodder for competitors to get more regulations passed to protect consumers from Uber drivers.

      • We already have this, same as where guys thing that supper and a few drinks entitles them to sex, and bosses and potential employers who believe you better put out if you want to get or keep the job.

        If you've hailed an Uber, you already have a smartphone, so it's not like if they say "f*ck or walk" that you don't have options. 911 is there for that.

        • by Cederic ( 9623 )

          guys thing that supper and a few drinks entitles them to sex

          I suspect most guys don't think that at all.

          Of course, women that let a man buy them dinner and a few drinks because they wants a free dinner and some drinks and have every intention of telling him to fuck off are nothing to admire either.

          Women that refuse to sleep with a man because he invited them to share the costs of dating deserve to die lonely too.

          Yeah, I can understand a man expecting women to be a little more honest and sharing. Luckily these days that's more frequently the case.

          • by mysidia ( 191772 )

            Of course, women that let a man buy them dinner and a few drinks because they wants a free dinner and some drinks and have every intention of telling him to fuck off are nothing to admire either.

            Both are Abusive/Disrespectful concepts for someone to go out and have the idea of doing, and BarbaraHudson's rant about this supposedly being the case is Off-topic and Sexist, for some reason, calling out men alone on supposedly thinking "supper and a few drinks entitles them to sex".

            You don't go into a res

            • You don't go into a respectable bar to buy a drink and expect the bartender will attempt to make a sexual pass at you, Or make a pass at the bartender and start up sexual relations in this public setting.

              Hell yeah I do. Around here that's called "a normal Tuesday night".

        • Did 'supper' include lobster?

    • Seems like a natural extension of their platform. I am wondering how they could have not seen this possibility, and how they think they can prevent this.

      They could have some hook up version of Uber Select. Conversion vans would be allowed. It might require fuzzy dice and carpet on the dashboard just so you know what you are getting in to.

      • Shh - it's not referred to as carpet, it's "monkey fur". And often it looks exactly like that. The dash, the ceiling, the insides ... and often whoever's driving ...
  • by SpankiMonki ( 3493987 ) on Saturday December 10, 2016 @12:52PM (#53459305)
    Are the drivers expected to turn a hose on the passengers groping each other in the back?
    • If Uber wanted to - ask drivers to report problem users, maintain a list of banned phone numbers and stop them from summoning Uber drivers.
    • Easy, it's only enforced when Uber wants to purge a conservative from their platform.

  • Kind of like the humble brag "Ugh I just spilled wine on my Harvard admission letter!", Uber is bringing attention to this to let more people know about this great new way to use Uber, while at the same time updating their completely unenforceable community guidelines to "discourage it" so if someone complains about getting hit on on a ride, they can say "It's not our fault... he wasn't supposed to do that, it's right there in the community guidelines"

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday December 10, 2016 @01:06PM (#53459369) Homepage

    They can make up any rules they want, if people take an interest they'll try flirting regardless. Compliments and open ended questions will for the most part get you clear feedback if your interest is wanted or unwanted. The rule is just there to punish those who think they're at a meat market or don't take a hint or outright rejection and starts being a dick to the point where they get a complaint filed against them. It's basically like hooking up anywhere except Tinder, it's not like that's the only place it happens...

    • The rule is just there to punish those who think they're at a meat market

      Uber treats their drivers like meat, a commodity to be used and then disposed of, so Uber kind of IS a meat market.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      /me flirts with you.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I just saw an Uber commercial where a guy asks a girl to marry him, so Uber is trying to have it both ways, apparently.

    • I just saw an Uber commercial where a guy asks a girl to marry him, so Uber is trying to have it both ways, apparently.

      That's asking to STOP having sex, so it's OK.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wasn't it obvious?

  • What business is it of the Uber cab company if their customers are asking the other person such questions? Their employee is getting paid to pick people up and take them to whatever destination they want even when the driver wasn't going in the same direction.

    If two (or more) people hit if off, so what? It's none of the cab company's business to pry into people's personal lives.

  • Instead of getting all Victorian over this, why not simply add a "[ ] single and looking" checkbox, or "[ ] speed dating while commuting" or something.

  • by afgam28 ( 48611 ) on Saturday December 10, 2016 @02:29PM (#53459787)

    From reading the comments, it seems a lot of people are misunderstanding the situation here. I think even the summary is missing the point! This is about passengers hooking up with other passengers, not with drivers.

    Uber Pool and Lyft Line are services that let you carpool/fare split with other people. You request a ride, and it tries to match you up with people who have requested a similar pickup/dropoff point.

    It's common to make small talk with the other passengers (just like you would with a taxi driver, or a regular UberX/Lyft driver) and people have realized that this provides a social pretense to meet other people and chat them up. FTFA:

    Although passengers have no control over whom they’re partnered with, there’s a high-enough density of young, single people in a city like San Francisco that occasional romantic interludes happen. As people share the ride to their respective destinations, they have a bit of downtime to get to know one another...It’s speed-dating on demand, and the people doing it say it’s better than Tinder.

    Lyft has even experimented with features to facilitate this: https://techcrunch.com/2015/05... [techcrunch.com]

  • Uber will only become the new Grindr.

  • Even the quickest of skimming TFA and you will see its talking about passengers using the carpool offerings of lyft and uber to hook up with other passengers, not with the driver.

    All this ranting about uber treating their contractors as employees are completely misplaced in this thread. I guess at this point I should fail to be surprised.

    • Even the quickest of skimming TFA and you will see its talking about passengers using the carpool offerings of lyft and uber to hook up with other passengers, not with the driver.

      And if you had've read the whole summary, all 4 lines of it, you would see the quote from the actual policy specifically mention drivers.

      All this ranting about uber treating their contractors as employees are completely misplaced in this thread. I guess at this point I should fail to be surprised.

      The irony is delicious.

  • Uber just doesn't want competition for their upcoming Car Dating feature where they will be able to get a cut.

    Extra $100 for a guaranteed Car Date match, amirite?

  • Doesn't sound like Uber would have any right to govern contractors. I guess it's settled. Employees all the way.

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