UBERTRUST: How Uber Represents Itself to Its Customers Through its Legal and Non-Legal Documents



Noto La Diega G & Jacovella L (2016) UBERTRUST: How Uber Represents Itself to Its Customers Through its Legal and Non-Legal Documents. Journal of Civil and Legal Sciences, 5 (4), Art. No.: 199.

This paper examines some of the key factors that contribute to build or erode users’ trust in a platform-based service such as the one provided by Uber Technologies Inc. As clarified by the European Commission, the future Internet cannot succeed without trust of online platforms’ users. The paper explores Uber’s web of relationships with different categories of users, i.e., ‘driver-partners’, ‘riders’, ‘developers’ and ‘business users’ through Uber’s legal and non-legal representations. By analysing Uber ‘legals’ (terms of service, privacy policy, etc.) and the non-legal representations of these norms through the wider Uber community ecosystem (forums, blogs, etc.), it explores how transparency and collective awareness can play a role in sustaining trust. It concludes that the opacity of its ‘legals’ and of its corporate structure could create tensions within the market and undermine the users’ trust. Therefore, the authors recommend that in order to foster trust and ensure fairness, Uber should ensure consistency between its legal and non-legal representation and adopt a more transparent and fair approach in its legals. This would, in turn, empower its users community to participate in the decision making and could provide an example for other platforms.

Online platforms; Trust; Terms of service; Collective awareness; Private ordering; Transparency; Uber; Uberification; Sharing economy

Journal of Civil and Legal Sciences: Volume 5, Issue 4

FundersQueen Mary University of London
Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online29/06/2016
Date accepted by journal22/06/2016

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