The tone-deaf response was, not surprisingly, immediately and brutally criticized:

Uber’s executives realized their mistake about an hour after their first response, and ultimately offered free rides to anyone leaving the area where the hostages were taken:

The New South Wales police have asked everyone to leave the area, prompting some to wonder whether Uber should be urging drivers to enter it.

The incident, which is relatively small change compared to the uproar over an alleged rape by an Uber driver in New Delhi, does highlight that the company’s biggest gaffes have been self-inflicted by its own executives, rather than being caused by its vaunted logistics platform or well-designed mobile app. It seems there’s an Uber for everythingexcept crisis communications.

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