Citizen, otherwise known as the worst kind of hyperlocal app ever created, is now willing to pay people to livestream crimes around New York City. The company is reportedly hiring people in the Big Apple at a starting rate of $25 per hour to run around the city and start streaming crimes to the web in real-time.
The exact nature of these hires — including their very existence — is being kept mostly quiet by Citizen. Any public-facing recruiting for these positions is being done on the DL; one post on JournalismJobs.com from last week sought “field team members” to work for “a tech company with user-generated content.”
“You will be live-streaming from your phone straight to the app, covering the event as news,” the job posting read. Citizen’s name was not included anywhere in the now-deleted posting, according to the New York Post. The company does not post these positions on its website, either.
This would sound like an unfathomably horrible idea for any company but for Citizen, a company that has made these same mistakes many times over? That’s just purposefully reckless. Just a few months ago, Citizen found itself the subject of ridicule and ire for placing a $30,000 bounty on the head of a suspected arsonist... who ended up being very much innocent. And yet Citizen continues to push random, untrained people toward carrying out law enforcement — now with paid incentives, too.
Definitely not hiding it — When reached for comment by the New York Post, Citizen said point-blank that it does not hide its use of paid field team members. And yet postings for these positions have been conducted by a company called Flyover Entertainment, rather than Citizen itself.
Flyover must not have gotten the memo about this not being a secret. Michael Yates, Flyover’s owner, told the New York Post that he could not confirm the listing was for Citizen. “I’d violate my NDA and they’d rightfully fire me,” he said of the matter. The posting was removed amid the publication’s questioning.
Citizen has apparently been utilizing these “field team members” for some time now. One popular Citizen user by the name of “@cgutter” has streamed more than 1,600 times on the app, with a total of 1.52 million views. Citizen did confirm that he works for the company, but there’s no way to tell this from his profile. Definitely nothing fishy about that.
Learning nothing, moving on — No, we’re not shocked Citizen is pulling a move like this. This is the same company that got kicked off Apple’s App Store — known at the time as “Vigilante” — for promoting vigilantism, and simply changed its name to receive App Store approval. It’s the same company that thinks on-demand private cops are the solution to public safety.
Citizen has been seen many times over to be a breeding ground for racism and general hatred. The app’s problematic community ties will only worsen as it incentivizes randomized crime reporting with monetary compensation.
So there you have it: The solution to lowering crime rates is paying random people to run around NYC, aiming their phones at anything that might vaguely be considered “crime.” Thank goodness Citizen solved that one for us.