People are freaking out about Uber's plans to bar riders with low ratings, comparing it to a dystopian 'Black Mirror' episode and China's social-credit system

Netflix / Black Mirror


Uber announced this week that it would soon bar passengers whose ratings fall to levels that the company deems unacceptable.

It’s similar to the system drivers have long known affects their ability to work and part of making respect a “two way street,” the company said in a blog post.


Read more:
Uber will ban passengers if their rating drops to a certain level. Here’s how to make sure you don’t get booted.

But not everyone is on board with the idea.

Shortly after the plan was announced, Twitter lit up with criticism and praise of the forthcoming rules, although the company has not provided any details on things like minimum ratings. The overwhelming response was a comparison to a 2016 episode of the Netflix show “Black Mirror,” which depicts a world where all citizens can rate each other. Those scores then have an influence on everything from housing to weddings.

Other people said the move by Uber, which is now a nearly ubiquitous service in most major US cities, was akin to China’s social-credit system, which is designed to reward and penalise people based on their behaviour.

Worries about how ratings might differ for groups of people based on things such as age, race, and gender were also brought up.

But, of course, the plan did find some fans.

The Independent Drivers Guild, which represents thousands of app-based drivers in New York, praised the move by Uber as a way to protect drivers, especially in the wake of a violent attack caught on video this week.

“Holding riders accountable for their behaviour on the Uber platform is an important safety measure to protect drivers as well as fellow riders who may book shared rides,” the group said in a statement. “While most riders are respectful, banning riders who threaten driver safety, spew racist rants, and disrespect or damage our vehicles is the right thing to do. For too long there has been one-sided accountability and this is a positive step toward correcting that.”

What do you think of the plan? Get in touch with this reporter at [email protected]

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