Citizen is an app that has been encouraging ordinary citizens to film and livestream emergencies and crime scenes. They use citizens to act as journalists closer to the actual scene of the event. And based on the New York Post’s report, they now pay $25 per an hour of your livestream. Here are the details of that said report.
Older generations would probably agree that journalism was much more difficult in the past. Process is more complicated as the internet or apps, such as Citizen, do not yet exist. However, since the start of the digital era, it seems like anyone can give information now and spread news in just a few clicks. This definitely made journalism more accessible and easier with the spread of information faster.
In spite of all these advantages that this generation experiences, there are still a few things to consider. TechCrunch believes that the Citizen’s livestreams of emergencies and crimes cannot serve as a substitute for local journalism. For one, its App store page states that “Citizen may notify you of a crime in progress before the police have responded.” This means that users may report such emergencies though police have not confirmed it yet. Making the reports quite uncertain as an ordinary citizen and not an official gives the report.
The company responded with the possible issues with the claim that the app only allows verified content reviewed by trained analysts. However, an incident of CEO Andrew Frame offering $30,000 to a Citizen user that will be able to track down a suspected arsonist. This ended up with users looking for it and pointing to the wrong guy. The money involved and freedom given to users is quite a dangerous combination for local journalism.
Citizen, formerly known as ‘Vigilante’
The Citizen app has quite made news itself as controversies follow the technicalities of the app. It was initially launched in the App store with the name of ‘Vigilante’ in 2016. The app labels itself as a platform to ‘fight injustice with transparency’. To put it into action, it allows and encourages users to report crime scenes and emergencies through the app.
Unfortunately, the app reportedly violated Apple’s app guidelines that requires apps to not ‘“likely to cause physical harm from its use.” And because the main use of the app is to be in an actual dangerous location where emergencies happen, it creates a risk for the users. As a result, the app was removed from the Apple Store.
What’s New With The App?
After all the controversies and issues faced by the app, it was able to come back and try again. Including a few modifications in their platform. Basically, the Citizen app gives you all the information you need to know to be safe. Based on the app description on Google Play, it features real-time safety alerts and live feed of emergencies such as fire or protests happening near your area. Moreover, you as a user get to keep your community safe by reporting incidents happening to warn others.
Reports claim that the app now recruits ‘field team members’ covertly and pays them $25 per hour to livestream crime scenes and other public emergencies. More so, a representative from the app told Post that “Citizen has teams in place in some of the cities where the app is available to demonstrate how the platform works, and to model responsible broadcasting practices in situations when events are unfolding in real time”.
It looks quite useful as citizens get to involve and contribute to the safety of one’s community. As their tagline goes ‘Where People Protect Each Other’. However, as CNET added, unconfirmed crime alerts using the app happened in the past. Instead of promoting safety, it may even result in unnecessary panic or worry within a community.