Inside Citizen App’s Dangerous Effort to Cash In on Vigilantism

A wildfire in a Los Angeles neighborhood led to a troubling manhunt.
​Image by Jason Hoffman​
Image by Jason Hoffman

Citizen is an app that describes itself as a public safety tool: A place where people can connect, inform, and “protect one another” from local crime. But internal documents obtained by VICE News paint a troubling picture of just how far the company’s CEO, Andrew Frame, is willing to go to try and catch a “bad guy.” 

Joseph Cox, senior staff writer for Motherboard, takes us inside Citizen to see how a wildfire in Los Angeles turned into a manhunt. 

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CREDITS: 

This episode was reported by Joseph Cox and Jason Koebler from VICE News’ Motherboard. It was produced by Adreanna Rodriguez. 

VICE News Reports is produced by Jesse Alejandro Cottrell, Sophie Kazis, Jen Kinney, Janice Llamoca, Julia Nutter, and Sayre Quevedo. Our senior producers are Ashley Cleek and Adizah Eghan. Our associate producers are Sam Eagan, and Adreanna Rodriguez. Sound design and music composition by Steve Bone, Pran Bandi and Kyle Murdock. 

Our executive producer and VP of VICE Audio is Kate Osborn. Janet Lee is senior production manager for VICE Audio. Production coordination by Steph Brown. Special thanks to Jason Koebler, Jeffrey Mercado and Jon Stern.