Dallas Police asked public for videos of protesters—it didn’t go well
Police seek videos through phone app —
Police app stops working hours after PD requested videos of “illegal activity.”
With protests against police brutality and racism happening in many major US cities, the Dallas Police Department on Sunday asked the public to submit videos of “illegal activity from the protests” through the city’s smartphone app. It didn’t go well, as the app was reportedly inundated with unrelated content, such as K-pop videos, and within less than a day, the app had stopped working due to “technical difficulties.”
“In response to the tweeted request from Dallas Police, hundreds of K-pop fans replied with photos and videos of their favorite artists,” BuzzFeed News wrote. “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.”
The department made its request for video of protesters at 12:48am CT Sunday. “If you have video of illegal activity from the protests and are trying to share it with @DallasPD, you can download it to our iWatch Dallas app. You can remain anonymous,” the tweet said.
By Sunday evening, the department’s Twitter account said, “Due to technical difficulties iWatch Dallas app will be down temporarily.” We contacted the police department about the status of the app today and will update this article if we get a response. I was unable to make a submission in the iPhone app today, but that may be because I’m not in the Dallas area—the app asks for your phone’s location services to be enabled and told me that my “device is blocked” due to a “validation error.”
“It’s unclear if K-pop fans from Twitter overwhelmed the app with traffic, causing it to stop working or if the police department simply wanted people to stop submitting photos and videos through the app,” BuzzFeed wrote.
“Make their jobs as hard as possible”
K-pop-themed submissions apparently flooded in after a Twitter user urged K-pop fans to “download the app and send all your fancams” in order to “make their jobs as hard as possible” and “make them take down the app.” Another widely shared tweet urged people to “FLOOD that shit with fancams [and] make it SO HARD for them to find anything besides our faves dancing.”
The iWatch Dallas app for iPhone and Android has been available since October and was last updated in March. The app has a 1-star average rating on both app stores after getting hundreds of negative reviews on Sunday. Some reviews were facetious, saying things like “this app shot my dog,” “killed my dog,” “stole my dog and ate my wife,” or that the app gave them a virus. Other reviews were serious, saying, “we shouldn’t live in a police state,” that the “app promotes racist and oppressive behavior,” “I don’t wanna get killed just because I’m black,” “Justice for George Floyd,” and “Black Lives Matter.”
Nearly every single recent review gave the app one star, though one iOS user gave it five stars and called iWatch Dallas a “Fantastic way to report communist agitators trying to destroy our city.” Meanwhile, Twitter has been flooded with videos of police officers assaulting protesters, as Slate detailed in an article titled “Police Erupt in Violence Nationwide.”
Dallas police on Saturday said they arrested 74 people and will charge them with “inciting a riot.” The city issued a curfew, and Police Chief Renee Hall said police will “make arrests of individuals violating curfew” and “will not tolerate any more vandalism of our city.” On Sunday night, police said, “As of now, there is very little activity occurring in the downtown Dallas area.”
Update at 5pm ET: The Dallas police department responded with a statement saying the cause of the app outage “is still being determined,” but that the system is back up and running. The statement urges users to “use the enhanced feature where photos and video can be uploaded. The minute you push send, the information is immediately transmitted to our Real Time Crime Center where analysts review your report and take action if necessary.”