UPDATED March 8, 12:03 p.m. ET: Uber updated its letter to include a correction after customer service platform Zendesk clarified the claim that any words including the word "rape" within it (i.e. Don Draper) were included in ticket searches:

Zendesk, one of our customer support platforms, contacted us to say that their search tool would not return a name such as “Don Draper” when searching for the word “rape.” However, such a search would (and did) return names that start with the letters R,A,P,E — even if the ticket itself had nothing to do with a claim of rape. We apologize to Zendesk for using an imperfect (and fictitious) example that doesn’t accurately represent their search functionality. This does not impact our analysis of the overall numbers, which was based on a manual review of these tickets rather than a simple keyword search.

Original story appears, below:

Ride-sharing company Uber is hitting back after reports suggested that thousands of its customers complained of sexual assault.

On Sunday, Buzzfeed News published leaked internal data suggesting that from December 2012 to August 2015, Uber's customer service team received 6,160 tickets with the term "sexual assault" and 5,827 with the word "rape."

Uber executives published a response on Medium later that day, explaining the leaked information. According to Uber, the word "rape" in customer service mostly occurred due to typos, and that the leaked info was "highly misleading":

  • Riders routinely misspell “rate” (as in the fare) as “rape,” or use the word “rape” in another context. For example, “you raped my wallet”;
  • Any email address or rider/driver last name that contains the letters R, A, P, E consecutively (for example, Don Draper) are included. After analyzing the data, we found more than 11,000 rider names and 17,500 rider emails with the letters “rape”;
  • The results also showed tickets from passengers who got into cars not on the Uber platform, or who were discussing unsubstantiated media reports of sexual assaults.

The post added that from December 2012 to August 2015, Uber's analysis found only five tickets that allege rape, and 170 with "a legitimate claim of sexual assault (1 in every 3.3 million trips)." Uber also said people often report serious incidents directly to law enforcement, which would not be reflected in its customer service tickets.

Uber did not immediately respond to NTRSCTN's request for comment.