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Lyft Joins Uber in Banning Maskless Passenger Who Assaulted San Francisco Driver

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  • Video has gone viral showing a violent altercation between a San Francisco Uber driver and three women who he asked to leave his car when one entered without a mask. 
  • Footage shows the women coughing on the driver, snatching his phone, and pulling his face mask off while cursing and insulting him. 
  • One woman defended the group’s behavior on Instagram, saying they refused to get out because he wanted to drop them off “in the middle of the hood and the freeway.”
  • She also threatened to sue Uber saying, “That’s why I use Lyft,” though Lyft quickly joined Uber in banning the rider from its service.

Viral Video

Uber and Lyft have both banned a customer in San Francisco, California who was caught on camera physically assaulting and verbally berating a driver.

The incident reportedly happened at around 12:45 p.m. on Sunday when the Uber driver, Subhakar Khadka, picked up three women and noticed one wasn’t wearing a mask. 

Khadka told local reporters that he drove the group to a nearby gas station for one of the masked friends to buy the unmasked passenger a face covering. By the time that friend returned, however, he said the two other passengers were taunting and berating him for picking them up in the first place.

After having enough of the verbal abuse, which allegedly included racial slurs, he decided to end the ride and asked them to leave his car.

Dashcam footage Khadka recorded showed the women screaming and swearing at him, refusing to get out of the car. Two of the women cough on him while one laughs, adding “And I got corona.” Then one of the women reaches over, grabbing the driver’s phone.

“Don’t touch my property,” Khadka warns before the woman pulls his mask off his face.

The woman who snatched his phone and mask recorded some of the exchange herself and posted the footage to her Instagram before turning her account private.

She argued that her group refused to get out because he wanted to drop them off “in the middle of the hood and the freeway.”

Her claims seem to align with remarks she made on the dashcam video, including, “You think you can kick us out in the middle of the f***ing thing? Are you stupid?”

In her own clips, the women and her friends are also heard saying that they won’t get out of the car at the gas station until their next Uber arrives.

Khadka repeatedly tells the women to get out and wait for their next car, even saying he will drive home if they don’t exit and stop wasting his time. He does drive off at one point after they continue to refuse and berate him.

According to police who are investigating the incident, when the group finally did exit, one of the women reached into an open window to spray what was believed to have been pepper spray into the vehicle and towards the driver before fleeing. 

Khadka said that spray was so suffocating it forced him out of the car and left a lingering smell as well as colored residue behind.

“Thats Why I Take Lyft,” Suspect Declares

The woman responsible for the majority of the assault against Khadka went on Instagram live to stand by their behavior.  

“And he’s lucky as hell I ain’t have nothing on me on momma’s because if he would have played with me bruh, it would’ve been a whole different story. You’re not about to kick me out of the freeway,” she said.  

“All I did was smack — take his mask off and cough a little bit, but I ain’t even have corona so at the end of the day…okay yeah, I ain’t gon lie, that was disrespectful as f**k,” she admitted. “I’m deada** wrong for that, but it could have been avoided. Period point-blank. It could’ve been avoided. You could’ve just waited and made sure we was safe.” 

“This fucking stupid ass Uber…That’s why I take Lyft!” she added.

She also said she was going to sue Uber, which has already condemned the group’s behavior and banned the rider from the service.

In an act of solidarity, Lyft banned the rider from its app as well. “Although this incident did not involve the Lyft platform, the unacceptable treatment of the driver in this video compelled us to permanently remove the rider from the Lyft community,” the company said. “Driving in a pandemic is not easy. Please wear a mask, respect one another, and be a good person.”

Crowdfunding Campaign for Driver

As far as Khadka, he has opened up to local reporters about how Uber only offered him $20 to clear his car after the altercation.

The company eventually raised that to $40 and then $120 after much pushback from him.

Still, he said it’s not enough to really make up for the cleaning costs and lost wages from all the hours he has been unable to use his car.

Because of that, supporters have created a GoFundMe campaign for him that has already raised well past its $20,000 goal.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post)(The Guardian) (CBS SF)

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Misinformation Makes Up 20% of Top Search Results For Current Events on TikTok, New Research Finds

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According to the report, the app “is consistently feeding millions of young users health misinformation, including some claims that could be dangerous to users’ health.”


Misinformation Thrives on TikTok

As TikTok becomes Gen Z’s favorite search engine, new research by journalism and tech group NewsGuard found that the video app frequently suggests misinformation to users searching for news-related topics. 

NewsGuard used TikTok’s search bar to look up trending news subjects like the 2020 election, COVID-19, the invasion of Ukraine, the upcoming midterms, abortion, school shootings, and more. It analyzed 540 videos based on the top 20 results from 27 subject searches, finding false or misleading claims in 105 of those posts. 

In other words, roughly 20% of the results contained misinformation. 

Some of NewsGuard’s searches contained neutral phrases and words like “2022 election” or “mRNA vaccine,” while others were loaded with more controversial language like “January 6 FBI” or “Uvalde TX conspiracy.” In many cases, those controversial phrases were suggested by TikTok’s own search bar. 

The researchers noted that, for example, during a search on climate change, “climate change debunked” showed up. While looking up COVID-19 vaccines, searches for “covid vaccine injury” or “covid vaccine exposed” were recommended.

Dangerous Results Regarding Health and More

The consequences of some of the false claims made in these videos can be severe. NewsGuard wrote in its report that the search engine “is consistently feeding millions of young users health misinformation, including some claims that could be dangerous to users’ health.”

Among the hoards of hazardous health claims were videos falsely suggesting that COVID-19 vaccines are toxic and cause permanent damage to organs. The report found that there are still several videos touting the anti-parasite hydroxychloroquine as a cure-all remedy, not just for COVID, but for any illness. 

Searches regarding herbal abortions were particularly troublesome. While certain phrases like “mugwort abortion” were blocked, the researchers found several ways around this that lead to multiple videos touting debunked DIY abortion remedies that are not only proven to be ineffective, but can also pose serious health risks. 

NewsGuard claimed that the social media app vowed to remove this content in July, but “two months later, herbal abortion content continues to be easily accessible on the platform.”

Other standard forms of conspiracy fodder also occupied space in top search results, including claims that the Uvalde school shooting was planned and that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. 

TikTok’s Search Engine Vs. Google

As part of its research, NewsGuard compared TikTok’s search results and suggestions with Google and found that, by comparison, the latter “provided higher-quality and less-polarizing results, with far less misinformation.”

“For example, searching ‘covid vaccine’ on Google prompted ‘walk-in covid vaccine,’ ‘which covid vaccine is best,’ and ‘types of covid vaccines,’” NewsGuard wrote. “None of these terms was suggested by TikTok.”

This is significant because recent reports show that young Internet users have increasingly turned to TikTok as a search engine over Google. While this might elicit safe results for pasta recipes and DIY tutorials, for people searching for current affairs, there could be significant consequences. 

NewsGuard said that it flagged six videos containing misinformation to TikTok, and the social media app ended up taking those posts down. In a statement to Mashable, the company pledged to fight against misinformation on its platform. 

“Our Community Guidelines make clear that we do not allow harmful misinformation, including medical misinformation, and we will remove it from the platform,” the statement said. “We partner with credible voices to elevate authoritative content on topics related to public health, and partner with independent fact-checkers who help us to assess the accuracy of content.”

See what others are saying: (Mashable) (CNN) (USA Today)

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Over 70 TikTok Creators Boycott Amazon as Workers Protest Conditions and Pay

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As the company fends off pressure on both fronts, the Amazon Labor Union continues to back election petitions around the country including one filed Tuesday in upstate New York.


Gen Z Goes to War With Amazon

More than 70 big TikTok creators have pledged not to work with Amazon until it gives in to union workers’ demands, including calls for higher pay, safer working conditions, and increased paid time off.

Twenty-year-old TikToker Elise Joshi, who serves as deputy executive director for the advocacy group organizing the boycott, Gen Z for Change, posted an open letter on Twitter Tuesday.

“Dear Amazon.com,” it reads, “We are a coalition of over 70 TikTok creators with a combined following of 51 million people. Today, August 16th, 2022, we are joining together in solidarity with Amazon workers and union organizers through our People Over Prime Pledge.”

Amazon has refused to recognize the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) since workers voted to unionize at a Staten Island warehouse in April, and it has resisted collective bargaining negotiations.

Although the ALU is not involved in the boycott, its co-founder and interim President Chris Smalls expressed support for it in a statement to The Washington Post, saying, “It’s a good fight to take on because Amazon definitely is afraid of how we used TikTok during our campaigns.”

While the ALU posts videos on TikTok to drum up popular support for the labor movement, Amazon has sought to win large influencers over to its side. In 2017, it launched the Amazon Influencer Program, which offered influencers the opportunity to earn revenue by recommending products in personalized Amazon storefronts.

Last May, the company flew over a dozen Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok stars to a luxurious resort in Mexico.

Emily Rayna Shaw, a TikTok creator with 5.4 million followers who has partnered with Amazon in the past, is participating in the boycott.

“I think their method of offering influencers life-changing payouts to make them feel as if they need to work with them while also refusing to pay their workers behind the scenes is extremely wrong,” she told The Post.

“As an influencer, it’s important to choose the right companies to work with,” said Jackie James, a 19-year-old TikTok creator with 3.4 million followers, who told the outlet she will cease doing deals with Amazon until it changes its ways.

The ALU is demanding that Amazon bump its minimum wage to $30 per hour and stop its union-busting activities.

Slogging Through the ‘Suffocating’ Heat

Amazon is also facing challenges from workers themselves, with some walking out this week at its largest air hub in California, where company-branded planes transport packages to warehouses across the country.

They are asking for the base pay rate to be raised from $17 per hour to $22 per hour.

A group organizing the work stoppage under the name Inland Empire Amazon Workers United said in a statement that over 150 workers participated, but Amazon countered that the true number was only 74.

The Warehouse Worker Resource Center counted 900 workers who signed a petition demanding pay raises.

Inland Empire Amazon Workers United has complained about the “suffocating” heat in the facility, saying that temperatures at the San Bernardino airport reached 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for 24 days last month.

Amazon spokesperson Paul Flaningan, however, claimed to CNBC that the temperature never surpassed 77 degrees and said the company respects its workers’ right to voice their opinions.

On Tuesday, the ALU backed another warehouse’s decision to file a petition for a union election in upstate New York, roughly 10 miles outside Albany.

The National Labor Relations Board requires signatures from 30% of employees to trigger an election.

See what others are Saying: (The Washington Post (CNBC) (Associated Press)

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Twitter Roasts Tim Hortons for Offering Coffee and Donut to Settle Lawsuit for Spying on Customers

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The company allegedly tracked app users’ movements 24/7 to determine when they visited a competitor, a major sports venue, or their home or workplace.


A Not So Tasty Compensation

Social media users ridiculed Canadian fast food chain Tim Hortons over the weekend for a leaked email in which it offered to compensate customers whom it allegedly spied on by giving them a free beverage and pastry.

Twitter user James McLeod posted pictures of the email Friday, which was sent to affected users of the company’s app.

“You are receiving this email in connection with a proposed settlement, subject to Court approval, of a national class action lawsuit involving the Tim Hortons app and the collection of geolocation data between April 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020,” it read.

“As part of the proposed settlement agreement, eligible app users will receive a free hot beverage and a free baked good,” it continued. “Distribution details will be provided following approval, in the event that the court approves the settlement.”

The email specified that the free beverage would have a retail value of $6.19 (CAD) plus tax, and the free baked good would be $2.39 (CAD).

In a statement to Vice, Tim Hortons said the settlement is not admission of any wrongdoing and that the allegations in the lawsuits have not been proven in court.

“Add to this the fact that the coffee is absolutely abysmal and it becomes even more hilarious,” one person tweeted amid a flurry of criticism toward the company.

Another added, “Do you think the donut will have the good sprinkles or the bad sprinkles?”

‘Vast Amounts’ of Data Collected Illegally

Suspicion that Tim Hortons had violated its customers’ privacy began in 2020 when a reporter from the National Post found that the company’s app had tracked their location over 2,700 times in under five months.

Last Month, Canadian authorities wrapped up an investigation into the matter, finding that Tim Hortons tracked and recorded the movements of people who downloaded its app every few minutes of every day, even when the app wasn’t open.

Although the app requested permission to access geolocation data, authorities concluded that it misled users to believe it would only gather data while the app was open.

Using “vast amounts” of geolocation data, the company inferred where users lived, where they worked and whether they were traveling, according to investigators.

It even allegedly generated an “event” anytime a user entered or exited a Tim Hortons competitor, a major sports venue, or their home or workplace.

The investigation found that the company continued gathering data for a year even despite having shelved plans to use it for targeted advertising.

The company, which has committed to deleting all geolocation data on group members, said in a statement that it only used the data in a limited way, such as to analyze user trends.

See what others are saying: (Vice) (The Verge) (Privacy Commissioner of Canada)

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