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FBI Launches Probe Into Uber’s Hell Program

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Government investigating company’s program that opened fake Lyft accounts to gather information on rival

The FBI is investigating Uber for using its software to potentially interfere with its competitors’ operations, the company confirmed Friday.

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The burea is looking into an Uber initiative, called Hell in internal memos leaked earlier this year, that operated from 2014 to 2016.

The scheme involved Uber workers opening fake accounts for its rival Lyft. Workers would report how many Lyft drivers were available in certain locations at different times. Using the data, Uber could send its own drivers to fill gaps in Lyft’s coverage.

The program was discontinued last year, according to the memos.

“We are cooperating with the investigation,” Uber said in a statement sent to Anadolu Agency.

The Hell probe is the third investigation by the federal government into Uber’s practices currently taking place. In May, the Justice Department (DOJ) began reviewing Uber’s Greyball software, a program used to evade local municipalities’ ability to regulate the service. Last week, the company said the Justice Department is also investigating Uber’s international business to see if the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That 1977 law bans American companies from bribing foreign officials to get or keep business.

The trio of investigations swirl around the company’s recent hiring of former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as Uber’s chief executive.

The company has also been under fire for a reportedly sexist corporate culture after a former female engineer published a widely-viewed blog post.

Co-founder Travis Kalanick resigned as CEO in June after a tumultuous first half of 2017.

“Per DOJ policy, the FBI neither confirms nor denies the existence of investigations,” the FBI told Anadolu Agency.

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