Breaking News updated its iOS and Android applications with a new tips feature, allowing users to leave anonymous tips for nearby users when they witness a “breaking story.” These stories include things like police activity, car accidents, power outages, protests, “lots of sirens” and more.
Users can submit a tip by tapping on the new tip button on the top-right corner of the screen and selecting one of the available tip categories. The app now also supports 3-D Touch on iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, allowing users to post a tip by pressing on the app’s icon on their home screen. Other 3-D Touch shortcuts allow users to search or submit links.
Users can view any nearby tips under the “nearby” tab. Tapping a tip shows its location on a map.
It all started with an experiment in our Apple Watch app. Last year, we added a big red button that said, “See news nearby? Tap to tip us.”
When you tapped, it sent us a location — nothing more — and our editors searched social media for stories near that location.
But there were two problems. First, we learned that a simple location point wasn’t enough of a signal. While many tips matched up with reports on social media or local news sites — either right away or eventually — many more proved to be inconclusive.
Second, even with a relatively small number of Apple Watch users, we’ve been receiving way too many tips to keep up–thousands of them so far. Not just from North America, but dozens of countries like England, Spain, France, Australia, China, Japan, Nigeria, Somalia … even Afghanistan.
That’s when we realized that we were taking the wrong approach. You shouldn’t just be tipping us, but tipping each other with a little more information to make it helpful for people around you.