Lyft is pointing to people with names that their algorithm considers inappropriate, such as "Dick," "Finger," and "Cummings." The passenger transport company is sending messages to these users telling them that their names do not align with the guidelines of their community, and they are instructed to change their name or to start from the service.
Naturally, this is creating some consternation among people with, say, delicate names.
I @lyft I think it's a bit screwed that you don't let me use your service anymore because of the last name I have! Fix your company's code and parameters! The Cumming surname is a real surname.
– Cultra (@ MitchellC717) December 19, 2019
The company also marks customers with names that do not sound in English. Lyft client Kwame Som-Pimpong said The edge who has asked for clarification on what name, in addition to yours, the company would prefer to use.
You recently sent me an email to change my account name because it is not in line with your community guidelines. My name is Bubunyo and if you expect me to use an English name, it won't happen because I'm not English. You can also forbid me.
– Local man (@KiddBubu) December 19, 2019
The same thing happened to me, but I knew exactly why they marked my name. (I contacted them through @AskLyft and they are investigating it.) I guess it's a Scunthorpe problem (https://t.co/IRUpGzjGO3)
– Jen Dick (@Jennifer_Dick) December 19, 2019
Whatever Jen Dick is here, it seems to be a classic case of the Scunthorpe problem, in which someone is blocked from a website because they have a username that is considered obscene. The problem was named after an incident in 1996 in which the AOL profanity filter prevented the residents of the city of Scunthorpe in the UK from creating accounts, because the name of the city contains a four-letter word that I don't believe I can say.
A spokesman for the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the Lyft response bot on Twitter is working overtime trying to collect phone numbers and emails from all those affected.
While it's not clear if he was affected, Twitter user Charles Butplugg wants everyone to know that he feels his pain.
My last name is Butplugg and I was expelled from everywhere
– Charles Butplugg (@beepbopboopzap) December 19, 2019