Crime reporting app Citizen lays off 33 workers •

Citizen laid off 33 workers members on Wednesday, the corporate confirmed to

“We’re grateful to all of our departing crew members for his or her contributions to Citizen and are dedicated to supporting them by means of this transition with a beneficiant severance bundle that features accelerated possibility vesting and prolonged train window, six months of COBRA funds, profession providers assist, and different advantages,” a spokesperson instructed

Citizen didn’t share what departments on the firm have been impacted; one laid off worker instructed that at the very least ten engineers have been let go.

Launched in 2016, the app was initially banned from the App Retailer over issues about vigilantism — it was referred to as Vigilante on the time. Now, Citizen makes use of public police blotters to inform customers about verified incidents of their space, however customers can add their very own reviews of suspicious exercise and livestream from crime scenes as effectively.

Based on information from SensorTower, an app analytics agency, Citizen has seen about $30.3 million in shopper spending and over 14 million downloads since its launch. The non-public firm most lately raised a $73 million Collection C funding spherical in early 2021, which included a $23 million convertible observe.

Citizen has been criticized for encouraging a tradition of surveillance that lends itself to racial profiling and harassment; one other neighborhood social app Nextdoor has exhibited related points. However probably the most egregious instance of those risks got here from the corporate’s CEO himself. In 2021, Andrew Body provided Citizen customers $30,000 to trace down a suspected arsonist whereas livestreaming on the Citizen app. He shared a photograph of the suspect on a stay feed which racked up 800,000 views, nevertheless it turned out he had the fallacious man. Based on a report on the incident from Motherboard, Body noticed this as an elaborate advertising and marketing alternative for the app’s livestream function.

“We deeply remorse our mistake and are working to enhance our inner processes to stop this from occurring once more,” the corporate wrote in an announcement on the time.

Later that yr, Citizen launched a service referred to as Shield. For $20 per 30 days, customers get 24/7 entry to a “defend agent” who can join them with first responders or police. However critics have questioned whether or not Citizen’s alerts stoke panic and worry moreso than they hold individuals protected — and that worry can encourage individuals to buy entry to their very own private safety agent.

Based on SensorTower information, in-app purchases on Citizen elevated 17% year-over-year after the introduction of Shield. However Citizen noticed a mean of $1.4 million in month-to-month spending on its app in 2022, which seemingly isn’t sufficient to make the corporate worthwhile. Citizen didn’t share a purpose for conducting layoffs, however letting go of 33 workers might afford the corporate a bit extra runway. Based on its web site, Citizen is at the moment hiring for 5 roles.

Present and former Citizen workers can attain out to Amanda Silberling on Sign, a safe encrypted messaging app, at 929 593 0227. You may as well ship a Twitter DM to @asilbwrites.

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