Uber is rapidly backpedalling today after an extremely racist tweet from its support account shocked the internet. Of course, this being the internet, it’s likely that a troll was involved in this sordid mess.
“We’d like to sincerely apologize for the offensive tweet that was sent earlier,” reads the early morning apology tweet from Uber’s support team. “We’re investigating what happened to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
And just what was the offensive tweet in question? It has since been deleted, but not before it was screenshot into eternity.
Apparently responding to a customer complaint about a bad driver, the company replied that it was sorry, and then called the alleged customer a vile racist slur.
We reached out to Uber in an attempt to determine how something like this could happen, but received no response as of press time. One possibility does present itself, however: The account in question was trolling Uber hoping for a bot reply.
This seems all the more likely when you look at the @realTheeCheney account, which consists of mostly MAGA trolling and screenshots of other Twitter users tricking brand accounts into tweeting racist replies. For example, if the @realTheeCheney account had a display name with the slur, then it changed it after receiving the reply from Uber, a bot reply from @Uber_Support quoting the display name might read as the deleted tweet screenshot above.
Even if that is the case, Uber should be more careful about its automated systems — a basic filter would have gone a long way in this situation. An apology doesn’t mean much if the underlying issue remains unaddressed.