Disrupting the Disruptors

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American ride-sharing giant Uber used unethical practices, including hindering authorities and circumventing regulations, to expand its operations in cities around the world, according to a new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists based on 124,000 leaked documents, including texts, emails and memos.

The leaked documents span the company’s operations from 2013 to 2017, under the leadership of Chief Executive and Co-Founder Travis Kalanick, Politico reported.

The correspondence showed that Kalanick and other Uber executives would shrug off the company’s questionable practices: At the time, Uber was expanding in a number of new cities, while also facing a global backlash for defying local laws.

One executive even referred to the group as “pirates” and said that “we’re just f—ing illegal.”

The report published by the Guardian and ICIJ also showed that Uber tried to lobby lawmakers and leaders worldwide, including French President Emmanuel Macron, who, according to the documents, went out of his way to help Uber develop in France.

But the French leader was just one of the many politicians, moguls and businesspeople the company secretly courted to cover up what the reports say were unlawful practices.

The “Uber Files” also show that the tech giant paid academics to publish research that would boost misleading economic claims about the company’s business model.

Uber responded to the leak by saying that it acknowledged the “mistakes and missteps” but insisted that the current leadership has transformed the company.

Meanwhile, spokespeople for Kalanick rejected the findings and accused the ICIJ of creating a “false agenda.”

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