Amnesty International: Trial by Timeline App Tells What Crimes You've Committed around the Globe

Jay Osterholm
Jay Osterholm Founder and CEO , The ODM Group

Posted on May 29th 2013

Amnesty International: Trial by Timeline App Tells What Crimes You've Committed around the Globe

The Digital Age as a Tool for Social Awareness
In an age where we are constantly inundated with advertisements across what seems like an infinite number of both digital and offline platforms, the ability to effectively reach consumers with a clear, well-developed message remains a fundamental key of marketing. The Internet is synonymous to a revolving door of never-ending content; it is, by all accounts, a digital vortex. So, how do we communicate our message in the digital age, or what I like to call the age of distraction? We embrace it; we adopt it accordingly and adapt to it quickly because it is here to stay.

Amnesty International, a nonprofit committed to the protection of human rights, is one organization that successfully, and creatively, uses the digital age and all it has to offer to its advantage. In an attempt to shed light on the freedom disparities across the world, the New Zealand branch of Amnesty International recently revealed an app that will show Facebook users the crimes they have committed. The app is called Trial by Timeline and it conducts an internal review of your Facebook activity to determine your criminal activity according to countries around the world.

Trial by Timeline App Overview

“This year New Zealand was named one of the freest countries on Earth. Sadly, everyday people all over the world suffer punishments simply for attempting a quality of life we take for granted. Trial by timeline gives you a glimpse of what that might be like. It analyzes your Facebook profile to find crimes you’re guilty of before showing how you’d be punished. Anything you’ve ever said or done is about to be used against you. SENTENCE ME.”

The goal of this app is to garner social awareness about the existing imbalance in human rights across the globe. Once your Facebook activity is reviewed (including your photos, status updates, events you’ve attended, etc.), the results show you how many convictions you would have, the number of crimes you’ve committed and the number of countries in which you’ve committed them. The app then illustrates the type of punishment you would receive, highlighting the different countries where your criminal activity took place. The map below shows this particular user would have 83 convictions for 8 crimes in 47 countries. The map highlights the regions this person would be imprisoned for his or her crimes.

As the app calculates your crimes, it flashes your suspicious activity across the monitor for you to see. For example, for women, having your gender listed as “female” is flagged as suspicious. Once your suspicious activity is determined, you are given your guilty sentences. The screenshot below shows one of the actions considered to be criminal: Unauthorized Public Gatherings.

Here are a several activities identified as crimes according to varying countries:

• Unauthorized public gatherings
• Socializing with unrelated males (for women)
• Blasphemy
• Peacefully exercising right to freedom of expression
• Going to a bar
• Consuming alcohol
• Involved with the media

Conclusion
Amnesty International’s Trial by Timeline app effectively uses a byproduct of the digital age, i.e., a social application, to further spread its message regarding freedom disparities across the globe. The use of Facebook to administer the app and the incorporation of a digital technology to communicate a message is both smart and creative. Further, the strategic inclusion of social messages throughout the app is extremely important to the overall message. The following message flashes across the screen once your criminal activity is calculated.

“This map shows your punishments and the countries where you could have suffered them. For tens of thousands of people around the world right now these punishments are real. Make sure the world takes notice.”

Amnesty International created an engaging app to raise awareness about a prevalent issue at the heart of the organization’s mission: The commitment to the protection of human rights. The options to share the app with your social networks and to share your results are made available throughout the process. What do you think of this digital approach to raising social awareness? Try the app out for yourself. It certainly made me appreciate the freedoms and liberties so many of us take for granted.

Jay Osterholm

Jay Osterholm

Founder and CEO , The ODM Group

Founder & CEO of The ODM Group. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my articles.

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