from the broadening-officers'-horizons dept
Once again, the people that serve the public have failed to understand the public. Trying to turn citizens into narcs never works out as well as government agencies envision. The end result is almost always a useless waste of limited resources.
Eons ago when the coronavirus was still a concern, the mayor of New York City set up a snitch line for residents to report social distancing violations. Instead of hot neighbor-on-neighbor action, the city’s 311 line received a bunch of middle fingers, dick pics, and Hitler memes.
When Ohio’s government set up a snitch line for employers to report employees who were collecting unemployment instead of coming to their COVID-encrusted workplaces, an enterprising coder put together a script that clogged the tip bin with algorithmically-generated garbage.
Now that it’s civil unrest all over the place in response to the latest killing of a black person by a white police officer, the Dallas PD is asking citizens to step up… and report other citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights. It has not worked out well for the police, as Caroline Haskins reports for BuzzFeed.
In response to the tweeted request from Dallas Police, hundreds of K-pop fans replied with photos and videos of their favorite artists. Many people also claimed to have submitted videos of the police harming protesters, as well as fan edits of K-pop artists, to the iWatch Dallas app.
It took less than 12 hours for the public to run the iWatch Dallas snitch app into the ground. The app’s listings (for both Google Play and the iOS App Store) were flooded with one-star reviews while the Dallas PD was flooded with footage of foreign celebrities. It’s unclear whether the app was trolled to death or if the PD simply got tired of wading through K-pop footage to find recordings of, um… “perps” participating in First Amendment protected activities. Either way, the app is down and no further submissions are being accepted.
Behold the power this social medium:
The digital protest started when a tweet from Twitter user @7soulsmap, which showed a screenshot of the original Dallas PD tweet, got retweeted thousands of times. A few hours later, @7soulsmap responded to their own tweet with a video and said, “If y’all post this one on their app I’ll send you a $1, I promise.”
Who would win: a well-funded police department or a single account waving dollar bills at Twitter randos? (Since we already know the answer, I will be removing this question from the final exam.)
If you want citizens to contribute to your efforts, you might want to make sure you’re all working towards the same goal. Asking people to turn in other people for stuff most people don’t think other people should be turned in for is never going to work out well.