Amid Protests, a New No.1 in the App Store

Police radio scanner apps surging in popularity
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2020 4:02 PM CDT
Amid Protests, a New No.1 in the App Store
Firefighters extinguish a fire on a car set by protesters outside of the Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, Calif., Sunday, May 31, 2020, during a protest over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.   (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)

Even the App Store is reflecting what's going on in America right now. On Monday the most popular paid app was 5-0 Radio Police Scanner. That version costs $5. A less robust free version is currently No. 3 among unpaid apps—ahead of the likes of TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. It's one of a number of scanner apps that give protesters a way to tune into live police radio feeds, reports Mashable. Between Friday and Sunday, the app was downloaded 40,000 times.

The app's developer, Allen Wong, framed it like so to Motherboard: "This weekend was the largest spike overall in 5-0 Radio listeners in the 10+ year history of this app. And there’s no indication that the spike is ending anytime soon. For the past four days, the numbers of users have almost doubled the previous day." He said the last time he saw any surge like this was in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. As for how 5-0 works, Motherboard explains a network of volunteers use their own radio scanners to supply the app with police feeds, which the app then assembles using "an interface that a non-technical person would be able to use." (More App Store stories.)

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