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Uber Denies Using Cutthroat Tactics in Recruiting Lyft Drivers

The heated public relations battle between ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft just got some fresh ammunition. On Tuesday, Uber released details about its marketing program, dubbed "Operation Slog," in a self-described effort to dispel "misinformation" about its program for recruiting new drivers. According to The Verge, Uber released those details after a reporter called to ask about documents that indicate Uber provided iPhone and credit cards to "brand ambassadors" who were instructed to request rides from Lyft drivers with the sole aim of recruiting them over to Uber. The Verge also reported that Uber started a private group with the messaging app GroupMe, allowing Uber folks to communicate with each other so as to avoid having multiple people recruit the same Lyft drivers.

Both companies have accused the other of ordering and canceling rides from their service as they look to gain an advantage in the burgeoning ride-share market, where independent drivers pick up passengers who hail them with their smartphones. An Uber representative told NBC News that the claims as outlined in the Verge report "are patently false," but acknowledged systematic recruitment of Lyft drivers, saying: "We can't successfully recruit drivers without talking to them, and that means taking a ride." The representative could not immediately confirm or deny the authenticity of the leaked documents.

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— Keith Wagstaff and Devin Coldewey