Connect with us


Citizen App Ditches Plan for On-Demand Police Force Amid Reports That Its CEO Directed a Manhunt for an Innocent Person



“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.


“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. 

See what others are saying: (Vice) (CBS News) (Gizmodo)


TikTok to Require Labels on Manipulated Media, Ban Deepfakes of Children



The social media platform says it wants to embrace the creativity AI can offer while being cautious of the “societal and individual risks” that come with it.

TikTok is rolling out a slew of limitations regarding synthetic deepfake videos, including a ban on deepfake content of children.

In an update on Tuesday, the social media platform said it wants welcome “the creativity that new artificial intelligence and other digital technologies may unlock” while also being careful of the “societal and individual risks” that come with it. To mitigate those risks, TikTok will require users to label manipulated media depicting “realistic scenes.” Users can do so in stickers, captions, or other means that make it clear the video is “synthetic,” “fake,” “not real,” or “altered.”

On top of that, there are new restrictions about who can be the subject of these manipulated videos. TikTok will not allow deepfake media that shows the likeness of a “young person” or any private person, including adults. It is also barring deepfakes that depict adult public figures giving political or commercial endorsements, as well as deepfakes that violate one of the platform’s other rules.

“While we provide more latitude for public figures, we do not want them to be the subject of abuse, or for people to be misled about political or financial issues,” the company’s updated guidelines say. 

As TikTok’s policies previously stated, synthetic media that has been edited to mislead audiences about real-world events is also not allowed on the platform. 

As far as what kind of deepfake media is allowed on TikTok, the company said videos showing adult public figures in “certain contexts, including artistic and educational content,” get the green light. This can include a video of a celebrity doing a TikTok dance, or a historical figure being depicted in a history lesson. 

The rules will be enforced starting April 21. Between now and then, TikTok says it will be training its moderators to better implement the guidelines.

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (The Associated Press) (TechCrunch)

Continue Reading


Adidas Financial Woes Continue, Company on Track for First Annual Loss in Decades



Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company. 

Yeezy Surplus 

Adidas’ split with musician Kanye West has left the company with financial problems due to surplus Yeezy products, putting the sportswear giant in the position to potentially suffer its first annual loss in over 30 years. 

Adidas dropped West last year after he made a series of antisemitic remarks on social media and other broadcasts. His Yeezy line was a staple for Adidas, and the surplus product is due, in part, to the brand’s own decision to continue production during the split.

According to CEO Bjorn Gulden, Adidas continued production of only the items already in the pipeline to prevent thousands of people from losing their jobs. However, that has led to the unfortunate overabundance of Yeezy sneakers and clothes. 

On Wednesday, Gulden said that selling the shoes and donating the proceeds makes more sense than giving them away due to the Yeezy resale market — which has reportedly shot up 30% since October.

“If we sell it, I promise that the people who have been hurt by this will also get something good out of this,” Gulden said in a statement to the press. 

However, Gulden also said that West is entitled to a portion of the proceeds of the sale of Yeezys per his royalty agreement.

The Numbers 

Adidas announced in February that, following its divergence from West, it is facing potential sales losses totaling around $1.2 billion and profit losses of around $500 million. 

If it decides to not sell any more Yeezy products, Adidas is facing a projected annual loss of over $700 million.

Outside of West, Adidas has taken several heavy profit blows recently. Its operating profit reportedly fell by 66% last year, a total of more than $700 million. It also pulled out of Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine last year, which cost Adidas nearly $60 million dollars. Additionally, China’s “Zero Covid” lockdowns last year caused in part a 36% drop in revenue for Adidas compared to years prior.

As a step towards a solution, Gulden announced that the company is slashing its dividends from 3.30 euros to 0.70 euro cents per share pending shareholder approval. 

Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company. 

“Adidas has all the ingredients to be successful. But we need to put our focus back on our core: product, consumers, retail partners, and athletes,” Gulden said. “I am convinced that over time we will make Adidas shine again. But we need some time.”

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CNN)

Continue Reading


Elon Musk Bashes Disabled Ex-Twitter Employee, Gets Blowback



After Musk claimed the former employee “did no actual work,” the staffer calmly directed passive-aggressive insults right back at the billionaire.

Excuse Me, Do I Still Work Here?

Elon Musk brawled online with a former Twitter employee who didn’t know whether he was fired Tuesday, accusing the staffer of exploiting his disability.

Haraldur “Halli” Thorleifsson, who has muscular dystrophy, joined Twitter in 2021 after it acquired the creative agency he founded: Ueno.

He said on Twitter that he was unable to confirm whether he was still a Twitter employee nine days after being locked out of his work computer, despite reaching out to the head of HR and Musk himself through email.

At the time, Twitter had laid off at least 200 workers, or some 10% of its remaining workforce.

In search of an answer, Thorleifsson tweeted at Musk, who responded with the question: “What work have you been doing?”

After being given permission by Musk to break confidentiality, Thorleifsson listed several of his accomplishments, including leading “design crits to help level up design across the company.”

“Level up from what design to what? Pics or it didn’t happen,” Musk replied.

We haven’t hired design roles in 4 months. What changes did you make to help with the youths?”

Thorleifsson reminded Musk that he couldn’t access any pictures because he was locked out of his work computer.

Musk stopped replying to the tweets, but hours later he returned to the platform to lob invective at his former employee.

Musk Vs. Halli

“The reality is that this guy (who is independently wealthy) did no actual work, claimed as his excuse that he had a disability that prevented him from typing, yet was simultaneously tweeting up a storm,” Musk tweeted, apparently referring to Thorleifsson. “Can’t say I have a lot of respect for that.”

“But was he fired? No, you can’t be fired if you weren’t working in the first place,” he added.

In a later Twitter thread, Thorleifsson said he could type for one or two hours at a time before his hands cramped, but that in pre-Musk Twitter, that wasn’t a problem because he was a senior director.

He added that despite his crippling disability, he worked hard for years to build Ueno.

“We grew fast and made money,” he said. “I think that’s what you are referring to when you say independently wealthy? That I independently made my money, as opposed to say, inherited an emerald mine.”

Thorleifsson made several more passive-aggressive jabs at Musk.

“I joined at a time when the company was growing fast,” he wrote. “You kind of did the opposite. The company had a fair amount of issues, but then again, most bigger companies do. Or even small companies, like Twitter today.”

Thorleifsson said that immediately following his back-and-forth with Musk, Twitter’s head of HR confirmed that he had indeed been fired from the company.

See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (CNN) (Yahoo)

Continue Reading