17:53 GMT29 September 2020
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    In a Tuesday blog post, Uber revealed that it has extended its mask-verification technology to riders in an effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Earlier this year, we built innovative technology designed to verify that drivers on Uber and delivery people on Uber Eats are wearing a mask. Before starting to drive passengers or deliver food, they are asked to take a selfie showing their mouth and nose are covered. To date, more than 3.5 million drivers and delivery people have completed more than 100 million mask verifications,” Uber wrote in its post.

    However, this technology will now be applied to riders who have been previously flagged by Uber drivers for not wearing face coverings. Such passengers will be required to take pictures of themselves wearing masks if they want to get another ride using the platform.

    “We firmly believe that accountability is a two-way street. That’s why we’re expanding the same technology to riders, too. If a driver reports to us that a rider wasn’t wearing a mask, the rider will be required to take a selfie with their face covered before they’re able to take another trip with Uber. With the addition of this new feature, one driver’s feedback can help ensure the safety of Uber for the next driver,” Uber added in its blog post.

    The mask-verification technology will go into effect for passengers in the US and Canada by the end of September and will subsequently be up and running in Latin America and other countries soon thereafter.

    The company also noted that passengers and drivers can cancel a trip free of charge if the other party isn’t wearing a mask.

    “When it comes to safety, we know our work is never done. That’s why we continue to develop new technology to help drivers stay safe. Wherever you’re traveling, we are committed to helping make every trip and delivery safe for all,” Uber added.

    Uber’s main competitor Lyft has also enacted a mask-wearing policy for all drivers and riders.

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