“FIND THIS FUCK,” Citizen CEO Andrew Frame reportedly told employees during the company-led manhunt, which included a $30,000 bounty for users who provided information that led to the suspect’s arrest.
Citizen Abandons Plans for Private Police Force
The crime-tracking app Citizen has now scrapped controversial plans to create its own police force after a highly criticized test run in Los Angeles with a private security service.
The company first began its 30-day Los Angeles pilot program last month, though it was only made available for employees. At the time, it seemed this was a route Citizen was intent on pursuing, as it had previously indicated an interest in creating an on-demand nighttime protection service for its 7 million users. In fact, it even launched its own company-branded squad car for the pilot program.
As of Tuesday, that program is now defunct, and according to CBS Money Watch, the company has no plans of continuing it in Los Angeles or any other city.
“A Digital Superhighway for Racial Profiling”
A spokesperson for the company refused to tell the outlet why it was abandoning the project, but the decision comes after a week of extremely negative publicity.
On May 21, Vice’s Motherboard first broke the news that Citizen was developing a private security force with Los Angeles Professional Security. In that article, reporter Joseph Cox wrote that the company wanted to deploy the firm “to the scene of disturbances at the request of app users.”
In a second report published Thursday, Cox cited one former employee who described the app’s user base as “insanely racist, which comes out in comment sections that are especially vile even by the standards of internet comment sections.”
That kind of behavior on the app has become a major concern for many given the potential for real-world implications to arise.
“The app gives people the power to say who is and who isn’t suspicious, and who belongs in their community,” Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst at the nonprofit privacy watchdog Electronic Frontier Foundation, told CBS. “These apps are a digital superhighway for racial profiling.”
Because of those factors, Guariglia added that the service’s potential was “incredibly disturbing.”
Citizen Offered $30,000 Bounty for Wrong Person
Cox’s second report also details just how concerning Citizen’s attempts to catch criminals have already been.
Two weeks ago, Citizen reportedly received a tip about a fire that had broken out in Los Angeles’ Pacific Palisades neighborhood because of suspected a male arsonist. According to sources Cox spoke with, Citizen Founder and CEO Andrew Frame then initiated a massive manhunt for the criminal in an effort to “prov[e] Citizen’s utility to users and [help] the app grow.”
In fact, Frame allegedly wanted Citizen to catch the suspect live on air as thousands watched, a situation that appears to be reminiscent of A&E’s “Live PD,” which was canceled last year following the in-custody deaths of George Floyd and Javier Ambler.
Frame even initially offered $10,000 to the user who provided information that would lead to the suspect’s arrest. He later bumped that reward up to $20,000 before ultimately capping the bounty at $30,000.
Cox reported that at one point, an employee noted that posting “specific information that could identify parties involved in an incident” violated company policy, but that employee was ignored.
“first name? What is it?! publish ALL info,” Frame allegedly told his employees via Slack.
“FIND THIS FUCK,” the report said he later added. “LETS GET THIS GUY BEFORE MIDNIGHT HES GOING DOWN.”
“BREAKING NEWS. this guy is the devil. get him,” he said in another message. “by midnight!@#! we hate this guy. GET HIM.”
“Notify all of la. Blast to all of la.”
“The more courage we have, the more signups we will have. go after bad guys, signups will skyrocket. period… we should catch a new bad guy EVERY DAY.”
Numbers-wise, Frame was right. According to internal Slack messages, concurrent viewership peaked at 40,000 people and signups spiked. At a later all-hands meeting, Frame allegedly noted that 1.4 million people engaged with the hunt in some form.
But the hunt was marred by the fact that police eventually arrested a different man than the one Citizen had spent a full night hunting. As Cox put it, “Frame and the entirety of the Citizen apparatus had spent a whole night putting a bounty on the head of an innocent man.”
“Citizen incentivizes both its employees and the public to create incidents because they are the core currency of the app and what drives user engagement, user retention, and a sense of reliance on the app itself,” Cox added.
Initial Unemployment Claims See First Rise Since April as Fed Estimates Faster Inflation Growth Than Previously Predicted
The Fed also announced that it expects to raise interest rates in 2023, a year earlier than its previous prediction.
Unemployment Claims Rise
The Labor Department reported Thursday that, for the first time in nearly two months, weekly initial unemployment claims increased.
For the week ending on June 12, 412,000 people filed first-time claims. That’s an increase of 37,000 from the previous week’s estimate of 375,000. It’s also the highest that new claims have been in a month.
Still, there are positive signs that the labor market is improving. For example, while last week’s continuing claims were largely unchanged from the previous week, the four-week moving average for continuing claims fell to its lowest level since March 2020.
The Federal Reserve is also optimistic about the labor market eventually returning to form despite the country still being short 7 million jobs. Following a two-day meeting, the central bank predicted that the unemployment rate could fall back to pre-pandemic levels by 2023.
It also expects economic growth to hit 7% this year, up from the 6.5% it predicted in March.
Inflation Will Grow Faster Than Expected
At its meeting, the Fed said it now believes inflation will climb higher than it had previously estimated just three months ago. In March, it predicted inflation would rise about 2.4% this year. As of Wednesday, it’s expecting a 3.4% jump.
That comes on the heels of a report from the Labor Department last week that indicated consumer prices climbed at their fastest rate since 2008 year-over-year in May. Like economists explained then, the Fed said it expects this rise in consumer prices to be temporary.
While the Fed expects the prices for some goods and services to continue to increase over the next few months because of issues such as supply bottlenecks, it also said it believes the labor market will continue to grow since the economy is finally coming out of its massive, pandemic-induced downturn in spending.
Still, as Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned Wednesday, “Shifts in demand can be large and rapid. Inflation could turn out to be higher and more persistent than we expect.”
Powell added that the central bank will keep a close eye on inflation and that it would respond quickly if inflation becomes broader or more persistent than current estimates.
Interest Rates Stay at Historic Lows… For Now
Among other key points from the Fed’s meeting was its decision to move up a projection for an initial interest rate hike from 2024 to 2023. Notably, it also said there could be two rate hikes in 2023.
That then caused some major stock indices like the Dow Jones to initially stumble, though the markets were more mixed Thursday. That’s likely at least partially because the Fed kept internet rates near a historically low zero for the time being, as expected.
Some Republican lawmakers, such as Sen. Rick Scott (Fl.), have argued that the 2023 projection is too slow, saying interest rates need to go up sooner to prevent inflation from rising too much.
In testimony before a Senate committee on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the inflation situation is being monitored “very, very carefully” and that while prices are rising, they’re also moving back toward “normal” levels.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (CNBC) (ABC News)
Coca-Cola Lost $4 Billion in Market Value After Cristiano Ronaldo Hid Two Bottles During a Press Conference
After the snub by Ronaldo, another soccer player hid a bottle of Heineken during a separate press conference Wednesday.
Ronaldo Pushes Away Coke Bottles
Coca-Cola’s market value fell by $4 billion after famed soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo moved two bottles of the soda off-camera during a press conference Monday.
The incident happened just before his team’s match against Hungary at the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship. After hiding the Coke bottles, Ronaldo held up an unlabeled water bottle and said “Agua,” which is Portuguese for water.
The whole moment was likely very awkward for Coke as a company considering that it’s sponsoring the tournament; however, the situation was made tangibly worse for Coke when investors reacted by selling-off stock. That move caused its market value to fall from $242 billion to $238 billion.
Alongside that $4 billion loss, its individual share value fell 1.6%, which isn’t huge but is somewhat more notable given the fact that it was seemingly caused by one person in one moment. Ronaldo doesn’t exactly have the same level of stock market influence as that of Elon Musk on the cryptocurrency markets, and on top of that, minus several blips over the last 40 years, Coke’s stock has continued to climb overall.
Still, it’s not a great look to have one of the world’s top athletes at a major sports tournament criticizing your sugary drink. That’s likely why a Coke spokesperson later said, “Everyone is entitled to their drink preferences” and everyone has different “tastes and needs.”
“Players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences,” the spokesperson added.
In the long run, this isn’t the end of Coke by any means. As Yahoo Finance noted, “It’s unlikely Coke’s stock will stay in the penalty box for too long as the business begins to partake in the global economic recovery.”
Ronaldo’s Healthy Diet
Ronaldo is known for basically being a machine in human form. He reportedly eats up to six very-calculated and clean meals a day and will also nap up to five times a day.
In the past, Ronaldo has indicated that he avoids alcohol and carbonated drinks in order to stay in shape. Earlier this year, he even directly spoke out against Coca-Cola when talking about his 10-year-old son.
“I’m hard with him sometimes because he drinks Coca-Cola and Fanta sometimes and no… And no, I’m pissed with him. And [I fight] with him when he eats chips and fries and everything. You know, I don’t like it.”
Besides his fame on the field, Ronaldo is also the most-followed individual on Instagram, with 299 million followers.
Pogba Seemingly Takes a Note from Ronaldo
It’s possible Ronaldo could have started a trend among athletes of speaking out more against unhealthy drinks, even if they are sponsors of games or tournaments.
In fact, on Wednesday, French player Paul Pogba removed a bottle of Heineken from the camera’s view at the start of a separate press conference.
While it was later learned that the specific Heineken was non-alcoholic, many believe Pogba, who is a devout Muslim, didn’t know that at the time or still didn’t want to promote the brand.
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (Yahoo Finance) (The Athletic)
Woman From Viral Gorilla Glue Incident Launches Hair Care Line
While some applauded the woman for making use of her newfound attention, others said they would not trust hair products from someone who put superglue in their own hair.
Tessica Brown Launches “Forever Hair”
Tessica Brown, the woman who got Gorilla Glue spray stuck in her hair for more than a month earlier this year, has now launched her own hair care line called “Forever Hair.”
Brown was inspired to create the line after the viral incident, which came to an end when a plastic surgeon removed the adhesive during a four-hour procedure at no cost.
The line includes an $18 growth stimulating oil formulated to help with the hair loss and scalp damage she was left with, as well as a $14 hair spray and a soon-to-be-released $13 product for sleek edge control.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Brown raved about how the hair growth oil, in particular, helped her over the last two months.
“I needed this oil to one, heal my scalp. I needed it to grow my hair back. I needed it to stimulated my hair follicles, and on top of that, I needed everything to be all-natural. And in this oil, it has just that,’ she claimed.
Mixed Reactions Online
The move might not come as too much of a surprise given that Brown has likely spent the last few months focusing on her hair’s health.
Still, the reactions on social media have been mixed.
Some have applauded Brown for making use of her viral attention and turning lemons into lemonade.
Meanwhile, others have noted that they are not about to trust a hair product line from someone who put superglue in their own hair. Plus, there is a chuck of people pointing to a typo on her packaging.
It’s spelled “nourishes”… siiiiigh.— Caitlin Dineen (@CaitlinDineen) June 16, 2021