Neither Of Them Are Angels: 5 Ways Facebook And Uber Are Similar

Written by Dana Sanchez

Facebook and Uber have insisted that they are just tech companies. They allow people to post and view content or make a living driving, based on their platforms. Uber’s issues with inequality in the workplace culminated this week with CEO Travis Kalanick’s resignation. Some people question the entire disruptive model on which Uber is based — the idea that it is simply a tech company enabling a gig economy. It could be perceived as a way for Uber to escape traditional employer responsibilities and benefits to its drivers. Kalanick is not alone. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has to sell his platform as an optimized ad-delivery system capable of precision-targeting large captive audiences. He simultaneously has to convince the public that Facebook is a social good while admitting his company has a diversity problem. Here are five ways Facebook and Uber are similar.

 

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Photo: Kim Kyung Hoon /Reuters/lomo photo effect

 

1. Both platforms are resented for the way they treat drivers or publishers

Drivers around the world are fighting for Uber to treat them as employees with the accompanying benefits. “Uber has tried to frame the new economics of using a casual and amateur workforce as an economic revolution that brings benefits to consumers and drivers alike,” David Glance writes in The Conversation:

It could equally be perceived however as simply a way for Uber to shirk any of the normal employer responsibilities and benefits to its drivers and through this form of exploitation, provide a cheaper service to customers.

It takes a particular type of CEO to consistently ignore the problems created by this business model and to continue to talk up the benefits the company is bringing to society.

Facebook makes it difficult for smaller, often independent, media outlets to share their stories and reach new audiences by giving preferential treatment to large media outlets, said Todd Reubold, publisher and co-founder of Ensia, a magazine publishing stories about emerging environmental issues:

Zuckerberg himself wrote on his Facebook page, “the world is better when people from different backgrounds and with different ideas all have the power to share their thoughts and experiences,” Reubold said in a May 2016 Media Shift report.

Facebook’s current model gives organizations the power to share, but whether stories actually reach new audiences is left up to Facebook algorithms. “The company should stop providing preferential treatment to large media outlets and start treating high-quality, independent media outlets more equitably,” Reubold said.

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About Dana Sanchez
Dana Sanchez is the editor of Moguldom.com and AFKInsider.com. She has worked in digital and print news media as a business writer and news editor. She has a master's degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. Prior to working in news, Dana worked in advertising.

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