Whistleblowers: A ‘Citizen’ App sent a terrified staffer undercover to livestream a Capitol riot.
Former workers of Citizen, which bills itself as a “personal safety network,” claim the firm deployed a staff member located in Washington, D.C. to the January 6 Capitol Hill protest and brought back film of the turmoil, according to Mother Jones.
For its investigative piece, the magazine spoke with former employees and studied internal corporate documents, finding that the corporation’s effort to prioritize engagement over employee well-being was a prevalent pattern as it sought to increase revenue streams.
Former Citizen staff employees told Mother Jones that the staff member sent to cover the Capitol incident on January 6 did so while blending in with the throng and without any safety safeguards in place. According to former employees, the guy sent video content back to Citizen’s New York bosses until he got afraid for his own safety and left the scene.
One former Citizen staff member told the magazine, “He was there, pretending to be one of them.”
Former employees claimed that Citizen executives were “overjoyed” by the video clip collected during the riot, which drew a lot of attention to Citizen’s app.
On the Citizen website, the app is described as a “personal safety network that empowers you to protect yourself, the people and places you care about” by providing “real-time 911 warnings, rapid help from crisis responders, and safety tracking for friends and family.”
The software is free to download, but it has paid add-on services such as “Citizen Protect,” a “on-demand, personalized mobile protection service.” Citizen claims to have over 7 million users in over 60 cities, with over 4 billion notifications issued to those people to date.
According to Mother Jones’ article, there were multiple instances where employees allegedly raced to issue alerts using the app without double-checking their correctness.
The story also included an incident reported by The Verge in May, in which Citizen CEO Andrew Frame allegedly offered a prize of thousands of dollars to find someone who he suspected of causing a fire near his Southern California house. The accused person was taken into custody. This is a condensed version of the information.