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The No. 1 paid iPhone app right now isn’t a productivity tool, a selfie editor, or a social network. It is “5-0 Radio Police Scanner,” an app that lets people tune into the communications of law enforcement around the world.
As crackdowns on protests over racism have rocked America, people are tuning into police radio scanner apps, like “5-0,” to keep tabs on the tumult. Rival apps—like Citizen, Broadcastify, and Police Scanner Radio & Fire—have similarly shot to the top of the download charts, as I wrote about on Monday.
I recently exchanged emails with Allen Wong, the 5-0 app’s creator, for whom all this turmoil has been especially lucrative. On Monday evening, he told me his app had “netted a few tens of thousands of dollars in profit in the past 24 hours.”
A self-described self-made millionaire, Wong says most of 5-0’s revenue comes from a free, advertising-supported version of the app. Through it, anyone can listen to broadcasts uploaded by hobbyists who own special, emergency responder radio equipment. The free version is the third most popular free iPhone app today, and it makes five times as much money as the paid version, Wong says.
Now Wong wishes to share the wealth. He plans to donate recent proceeds from the 5-0 app “to various groups, such as the Equal Justice Initiative,” a non-profit group that fights mass incarceration and provides legal representation to people who may have been wrongfully convicted of crimes, he says. Wong made similar charitable donations, he says, when the app gained popularity in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013.
“It has always been my purpose in life to create technology that helps people change the world for the better,” Wong told me in a note he since posted to his Lamborghini-filled Instagram profile. “I stand together with those who are feeling pain and fear every day of their lives due to racism in America.”
Add Wong’s pledge to the growing number of corporations backing anti-racist equal rights initiatives since protests over the death of George Floyd broke out. Every commitment counts.
Permission to speak freely? A tech industry group filed a lawsuit challenging President Trump's recent social media-related executive order. The plaintiff, the Center for Democracy and Technology, contends that Trump's move to limit legal protections for online platforms breaches the First Amendment. The dispute is over Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields Internet companies from liability over the things people post online.
What I say goes. As tensions boil over, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is holding firm in his decision to leave up a controversial post by the President referencing shooting looters. Facebook's former security chief praised Twitter for taking a different approach, adding warning labels to the President's posts, while noting that "it's impossible deplatform the President."
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad... Years in the future, if and when Zuckerberg might like to forget this contentious period ever happened, he can use a tool the company just released called "manage activity." The feature, available now on the Facebook mobile app, allows people to bulk-delete old posts.
⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛. Images of black squares flooded Instagram on Tuesday in a show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The deluge of posts, many of which used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, drowned out links to resources and other relevant content shared by activists. Leaders of the movement recommended using #BlackOutTuesday for the campaign instead.
Crossing borders. Facebook's WhatsApp is making a big investment in Indonesian ride-hailing giant GoJek alongside PayPal. China's Tencent, another GoJek investor, is plunking down $260 million to become the majority stakeholder of Bohemia Interactive, a Prague-based video game studio. And SoftBank, which has been facing a reckoning since the collapse of portfolio company WeWork's IPO, just put together a $100 million fund for minority owned businesses.
Please 👏 change 👏 your 👏 passwords.
Cameras are ubiquitous across the American landscape, and they're capturing footage of the recent intensifying conflicts between law enforcement and protestors. From storefront cameras and smartphones to Amazon Ring devices and video-sharing social media apps, there's no shortage of recordings. The technology is amplifying an already tense situation, reports the Washington Post.
Black workers losing jobs at twice the rate of white workers during the pandemic, according to new Fortune data by Lance Lambert
Google is sued for secretly amassing a vast trove of user web data by Robert Burnson
Amazon reportedly plans ‘Summer Sale’ starting June 22 to make up for Prime Day delay by Phil Wahba
Facebook’s Zuckerberg defends his handling of Trump post to staff by Kurt Wagner and Sarah Frier
Trump is sued over executive order targeting social media companies by Bob Van Voris
Two Facebook employees quit over handling of Trump posts by Aaron Pressman
Contact tracing begins in New York City with outreach to 600 people by Marina Villeneuve, Karen Matthews, Michael Hill
ONE MORE THING
As protests over police violence rocked the U.S. on Friday night, the Secret Service whisked President Trump into an underground bunker beneath the White House, according to the Associated Press. What do we know about the secret subterranean lair? Popular Mechanics dug into the details about the safe haven, which is designed for the commander-in-chief to use during emergencies such as terrorist attacks.