Airbnb and Uber mobilize large user base to influence policy

Democrats have taken a more cautious approach. Hillary Rodham Clinton has repeatedly questioned what such a job means for workers’ rights. Liberal economists who advise Clinton have criticized the part-time job as another way to cut workers’ benefits.

But these companies have a powerful tool in the form of their smartphone platforms and apps, and they have little hesitation in using it to encourage their users to protest or vote.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio this year backed a proposal that would cap the number of Uber drivers on Manhattan’s roads. Uber retaliated by tweaking its smartphone app with a special “de Blasio” feature to show New York users how difficult it would be to get an Uber ride below those caps.

“This is what Uber will look like in New York City if Mayor de Blasio’s Uber capping bill passes,” the app said.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Mr Lehane used a slideshow to present the people who rent their property on Airbnb as a powerful voting block who, like union members, will reliably show up to vote, even in the event of low participation. elections like Tuesday.

“There will be more people sharing their homes tomorrow than there are today, there will be more the day after,” he said. “It is now a movement.”

Movement or not, some have already tried to slow down the political rise of these companies. One of the other measures in Tuesday’s election was Proposition C, a complicated proposition that would, among other things, require companies like Airbnb to disclose all the money they use to encourage hosts to show up to city meetings. .

And the Airbnb debate in San Francisco is unlikely to end with the election.

On Tuesday, the San Franciscans also elected Aaron Peskin, a longtime progressive from San Francisco, to its supervisory board. In an interview, Mr. Peskin promised that the Airbnb problem would not go away.

“I think Airbnb would be well served to negotiate a workable and enforceable compromise” to curb “the most egregious excesses that result in the loss of a permanent and affordable rental housing stock,” he said. “Or that is likely to be an eternal problem in the ballot.”

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