San Francisco, like many American cities, has a homeless population that is growing–or at least growing in visibility. It can be uncomfortable, when reveling in the best possible version of capitalism, to see direct, human evidence of the system’s utter failings.
What is the tech community to do? Offer to pay more taxes to increase the city’s ability to provide social services? Perhaps offer to pay for permanent housing for the homeless–a solution that is proven to work and save money? What about creating an app to get homeless people arrested?
GetSnapCamp purports to be that app. Simply snap a picture of a homeless encampment and the app will call the police for you. “Somebody should do something. Be that somebody,” is its motto. It’s also very clearly a joke, as you can’t actually download the app from the app store, and the three totally tone-deaf “testimonials” are from people who seem to not exist:
An app like this basically already exists, backed by the city, no less, that has been called out by homeless advocates for being a “snitch app” and doing nothing to create compassion or solve any underlying problems.
The creators of this stunt have yet to reveal themselves or their motives, but it’s already fooled many people, which perhaps says more about how little we expect in terms of human empathy from tech culture than anything else.