Rideshare Profiles With LGBTQ Symbols Canceled More Often by Drivers

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07/26/2020

Racial and anti-LGBTQ+ bias persists in ridesharing services even though companies have taken steps to reduce it, according to a new study from Indiana University Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business — and the authors believe they’re the first to show that an indication of support for LGBTQ+ equality can trigger this bias. “Platforms such as Uber, Lyft and Via responded to drivers’ biased behavior by removing information that could indicate a rider’s gender and race from initial ride requests,” says a press release from the university. “However, researchers still found that biases against underrepresented groups and those who indicate support for the LGBT community continued to exist after drivers accepted a ride request — when the rider’s picture would then be displayed.” Jorge Mejia, assistant professor of operations and decision technologies at IU Bloomington, and coauthor Chris Parker, assistant professor in the information technology and analytics department at American University in Washington, D.C., did a field experiment on a ridesharing platform in Washington in the fall of 2018.

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