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Uber sends political ads through push notifications
63 points by jridgewell 6 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 15 comments
Just received [1] a push notification from Uber to support California Prop 22. This seems incredibly scummy, there must be a rule against this in app store.

[1]: https://gist.github.com/jridgewell/db36fbb03da337e16db0742358213f6c#file-screenshot-jpg

Same here. This is not what I signed up for. It does seem to be in violation of apple guidelines - "4.5.3 Do not use Apple Services to spam, phish, or send unsolicited messages to customers, including Game Center, Push Notifications, etc."

also, this in 4.5.4 " Push Notifications should not be used for promotions or direct marketing purposes unless customers have explicitly opted in to receive them via consent language displayed in your app’s UI..."


Starbucks/Amazon do this all the time too. I want to know when my coffee is ready and not when you're having a sale or it's double star day.

I generally disable push notifications when apps start sending sale spam. But I feel like pushing political ads is crossing a whole new line.

I think this is the first time I've left a negative review for bad behavior.

I mentioned this in a recent comment but Grubhub has been using push notifications to advertise recently. I just received one from Lyft today as well.

I uninstalled Uber and Uber Eats a while ago. I'm convinced this company is actually an experiment on how far someone can let a system go unsupervised before it falls apart.

It started with Uber Eats spamming me with coupons through at least 5 SMS a day that I the app wouldn't let me use. When contacting support, they shrugged me off.

Then,months later, I was out for errands and with no mobile data. I called my girlfriend and asked her to call an Uber for me. After waiting for an hour of drivers literally not even moving, or canceling while still 3 blocks away, I gave up and called a cab. When I got home she was in a fight with support, because apparently the passanger wasn't wearing a mask and that could get her suspended. Needless to say, that was complete bull because I was never even 500m of any Uber driver.

I don't know what this law is, but as petty as it sounds, I hope doesn't pass and this company dies.

Every so often, an uber alert pops up telling me how long it will take me to go home from where I am. Usually it's at an inopportune time. Sometimes when I am showing someone my phone and then they see my home address. This has happened several times already and I should just delete this app at this point.

It is also a little strange that the app is nagging me to go home. I'm out and enjoying myself and the app is telling me to go home? As if I will look down and see that it will now take me 43 minutes to go home instead of the usual 45 and that would be the final straw that will cause me to end my night.

I see stuff like this as a sign a company is getting desperate.

You either have a village idiot making decisions (which I doubt) or some smuck is under huge pressure from managers to do anything for growth so will sacrifice a good experience.

I hate companies pushing narratives like this - but if I had a startup and really needed cash I could see why some people would leverage their list of contacts for some cash from a desperate political campaign. Ethically I would never do this, but there are always people who stoop lower or think their politics are "above" that of their customer's.

Mine said "MADD: Prop 22 will save lives" MADD says yes on Prop 22. will you?

They are desperate, Uber will not survive if Prop 22 fails.

They could have invested that 180-odd million they spent on political advertisements figuring out how to pay their drivers and comply with AB5

From an analysis I saw, AB-5 is expected to cost them around $500m per year. Even though prop-22 would still be more expensive than their pre-AB5 costs, that's a pretty good ROI if they succeed.

Thanks for mentioning this, a tweet that said Uber spending so much on campaigning/lobbying shows that they can pay drivers went viral and drove me a little nuts with the clear lack of thinking involved.

Notice that in my comment I said "invest in figuring out" and not "pay drivers with." personally I doubt that it would cost a half billion dollars - that's farcical even at California scale. But the point Id raise is it costs less than 180 million to reorganize and set up insurance coverage for your drivers, payroll, and other internal infrastructure to comply with the law.

But complying with the law is antithetical to Uber's culture, so it's not surprising that the thought of obeying the law never crossed their minds.

Used to work for Uber corporate. This doesn't surprise me at all.

It makes a bit of sense... I assume they will have to close shop if that doesn't come to pass. Therefore users are expected to act.

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