China's biggest ride-sharing company, Didi Chuxing, will disable features such as profile pictures, ratings and public tags from its carpooling service, as it looks to win back trust following the killing of a passenger that sparked questions about safety.
The passenger was murdered by the son of a driver, who was able to accept passengers because he wasn't detected by the app's nighttime facial recognition. In the meantime, drivers and passengers taking a trip that's likely to end after 10 PM will receive a safety reminder before starting the ride.
For its Hitch service, all personalized tags and ratings features, which were created to increase social networking, will be taken down.
Didi said it will disable carpooling at night and make facial recognition checks compulsory for drivers. The company is rolling out all of these measures by the end of the month.
Didi is also opening a public consultation on whether to audio record every single journey to better mediate driver-passenger disputes. The recording would be encrypted and stored on Didi servers, then deleted after 72 hours, TechNode reports. That feature drew criticism, as Bloomberg noted, and now Didi has nixed it.
Didi's main carpooling services, ExpressPool and Hitch, had the equivalent of almost 3 million rides a day past year.
After acquiring Uber's China business in 2016, Didi controls over 90 percent of the country's ride-hailing market, giving users few alternative options, although new players have begun to edge their way into the market.
Didi's backers include Apple and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group.
The company, which boasts 450 million users, completed over 7.4 billion rides previous year, according to reports.
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