Bandwagon Boycott: What the #DeleteUber Campaign Missed

BY: ALEXIS ARNOLD

Last weekend, a barrage of posts sporting the hashtag #DeleteUber flooded social media feeds and made national headlines. The controversy began on January 28 after the New York Taxi Workers Association announced a one hour strike of airport service in protest of President Trump’s travel ban.'

Many people were angered that Uber chose to drop their surge prices not long before the strike was scheduled to begin because it would weaken the impact of the strike. Further dissatisfaction resulted from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s position on Trump’s economic advisory council.  

This led to the #DeleteUber campaign, which encouraged travel ban and Trump opponents to delete their accounts and switch to other e-hail services, despite Uber’s insistence that it was not trying to break the strike nor does it support the travel ban.

Many people decided to switch to a rival e-hail app Lyft because it seemed to show support for the cause with its $1 million donation to the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that is fighting the travel ban. Due to the combination of increased support from the Uber boycott as well as the donation, TechCrunch reported that Lyft surged into the app store’s top 10 downloads.

Unfortunately, public outrage over the ban overlooked Lyft’s own ties to the Trump administration. Lyft financier Carl Icahn has been a vocal supporter of Trump, who appointed Ichan to be a special advisor on regulation. Fellow Trump advisor Peter Thiel has also invested in Lyft, but a spokesperson from the company told CNBC that, "We don't always agree with our investors and aren't afraid to say so.”

There are many people who wish to distance themselves from Trump and his business dealings, using Lyft instead of Uber may not be the solution. With CEOs from businesses like PayPal, Home Depot, and Marvel supporting Trump, boycotting every brand that is connected to him will be more difficult than it seems.

Jenna CaldwellComment