Data & Society > our work > op-ed > With this ‘mirage of a marketplace’, Uber is taking its customers for a ride

The Guardian | 01.10.16

With this ‘mirage of a marketplace’, Uber is taking its customers for a ride

Madeleine Clare Elish, Tim Hwang

D&S Fellow Madeleine Clare Elish and D&S Researcher Tim Hwang’s article in Slate was cited in the Guardian article discussing the ‘mirage marketplace’ – further building upon D&S researcher Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark’s original research on Uber’s marketplace.

Some research, conducted by the Data & Society Research Institute in New York and published by, together with an analysis of Uber’s patent filings, suggests that the picture of the state of the “market” that is presented by its algorithm to drivers and customers is, in fact, “a mirage of a marketplace – an app experience that produces the sensation of independent riders and drivers responding to the natural fluctuations of supply and demand. But a look underneath the hood reveals a system that intermediates and influences more than it facilitates free exchange.”

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