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Uber tests push notification ads, a feature literally no one wants

Uber recently launched its new advertising division and in-app ads. Apparently, those ads aren't staying within the app.

Instead, ads from other companies are being sent out as push notifications, much to the chagrin of some Uber users. Over the weekend, people turned to Twitter to complain about the notifications, sharing screenshots of ads, including one particularly popular one from Peloton that Uber had sent out. One of the primary complaints: notifications are being sent out when users aren't engaging with the app.

When Uber first announced its in-app ad "experience," the company didn't mention the potentially intrusive implications.

Uber told TechCrunch this "was a limited test and users can always manage their mobile notification settings under Privacy and then Notifications in the app."

The company did not respond in time to follow up questions from TechCrunch, including how many users are included in the test, whether it is tracking data on how many users turn off ad push notifications, how long the test is scheduled to last and whether Uber would fully implement push notification ads in the future.

Uber's in-app ads feature a single brand for the entire trip. The so-called "journey ads" lets brands show a user different ads at three points of a trip: while waiting for a car, while riding and upon reaching the destination. Brands are able to "personalize" ads to each user based on their travel history and geographic destinations. It's also not clear if Uber used the same type of data for its push notification ads.