Though they were, it turns out, falsely accused of trying to break up a taxi strike at JFK Airport last weekend, the social media response was nonetheless swift and damaging, and we now learn that Uber lost more than 200,000 customers as a result of the #DeleteUber campaign that swept Twitter and Facebook. The disaster was a boon for competitor Lyft, which became one of the most downloaded apps of the last week, but it was a come-to-Jesus moment for CEO Travis Kalanick, who yesterday admitted defeat and resigned from President Trump's economic advisory council the second cause for protest cited by many who deleted their Uber apps.
The New York Times first reported the 200,000 number, and the SF Business Times took up the story highlighting how "Bay Area customers and progressives took issue with his participation in the Trump Administration and its proposed social agenda."
The Times noted that staff at the company were piling on internal pressure on Kalanick, telling him they were starting to suffer "a personal cost" for working for the company, catching flack from their friends for being associated with a soulless company that was seen as collaborating with a dictator.
CNN reports that Kalanick spoke to employees last week, just prior to last weekend's executive order on immigration, justifying his role on Trump's advisory board by saying, "We'll partner with anyone in the world as long they're about making transportation in cities better, creating job opportunities, making it easier to get around, getting pollution out of the air and traffic off the streets. It's about the leaders we have to work with around the world, not just here in the United States but everywhere. And being optimistic asking can we make urban mobility better?"
Meanwhile Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he'll stay on the economic advisory council in order to keep pushing his Mars-colonization agenda or something.
Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg has struck a similarly vague and conciliatory note on the new administration, perhaps at Mark Zuckerberg's request and with a view toward not alienating the Trump voting half of this country. But the #DeleteFacebook campaign may still be around the bend.