The media are "Uber" good at crying wolf.

in #uber2 years ago

NBCNews published this headline the other day:

"Uber Reveals Extent of Sexual Assault Problem: Thousands Abuse Reports A Year"

The headline is technically correct but entirely misleading. Much of the article is designed to hype up Uber as being unsafe. The number of assaults is repeated over and over again, with the grand total between 2017 and 2018 being 5,981 (a two-year period). In the entire article, only a single paragraph, a mere two sentences, buried in the middle, puts those numbers in context:

We do four million rides a day. That's 45 trips per second, [Uber Chief Legal Officer Tony] West said. And when you're operating at that kind of scale, thankfully, 99.9 percent of those rides end with absolutely no safety incident whatsoever.

Let's take West's figures as given. At 4 million rides a day, that equates to approximately 2,920,000,000 rides over that period. If 5,981 of them involve some sort of sexual assault, that means that 0.00020483% of Uber rides end in some form of assault. Or, to modify Mr. West's statement above, 99.999795% of Uber rides are safe.

In other words, the odds of being sexually assaulted in an Uber ride (combined driver/passenger) is approximately 1 in 488,209. To put that in perspective, the odds of being sexually assaulted in the US on average is approximately 1 in 370 (according to the Bureau of Justice).

Uber is far, FAR safer on average.

Bottom line: Crying wolf like this, which has become so commonplace among media, is directly why traditional media has become marginalised. Numeracy and perspective are important.



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