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NextDoor Promised Changes To Make Its App Less Discriminatory. Has The App’s Culture Improved?

Nextdoor, the hyper local social network, is seen on a computer screen in Washington, DC, on March 27, 2020. - There are offers to pick up groceries or medicine for neighbors, to share supplies, or walk people's dogs. And exchange information on where to find scarce items like toilet paper.  For people forced to stay home to ride out the coronavirus pandemic, Nextdoor, the hyperlocal social network, has found itself playing an increasingly important role. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP) (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)
ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images
Nextdoor, the hyper local social network, is seen on a computer screen in Washington, DC, on March 27, 2020.

NextDoor, the neighborhood app that is intended to operate like a coffee shop bulletin, has historically fostered a community that can be less than neighborly.

NextDoor, the neighborhood app that is intended to operate like a coffee shop bulletin, has fostered a community that can occasionally be less than neighborly.

User complaints began to surface surrounding the nationwide George Floyd protests last summer that content moderators were deleting posts discussing racial injustice and support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

In response, Nextdoor improved its AI systems to identify racism, removed certain features, and offered new unconscious bias training for leads, or unpaid content moderators who live in the communities registered on the app. Despite its efforts, the surge in active daily users spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Nextdoor to deal with racism, discrimination, and misinformation that its platform is often riddled with.

With vaccination rollouts in full swing, Nextdoor is a source for many on scheduling appointments and other related information. Yet, many are worried that the app is not equipped to handle these issues at the hyperlocal level. Today, we discuss changes that Nextdoor has made to address these issues and where they are still prevailing. What has your experience been using Nextdoor? Call and tell us about it at 866-893-5722.

We reached out to NextDoor. They responded with this statement:

Our purpose at Nextdoor is to cultivate a kinder world where neighbors can rely on one another, where all feel welcome.  As a community building platform, we explicitly prohibit racism, discrimination, or hate speech of any kind and take this issue extraordinarily seriously. Our Anti-racism taskforce, working with outside bias and social justice experts and academics, has been hard at work updating community guidelines, building products, and putting diversity at the fore, adding to our Boards and employee base.  

 

In an effort to ensure neighborhoods on Nextdoor reflect the diversity of neighborhoods in real life, we have taken several important steps:

  • Strengthened our community guidelines to more succinctly define the values of the community we want to build together at Nextdoor.

  • Rolled out our Neighbor Pledge globally, which defines the behaviors that are expected and the values of the communities we are helping to build. Accepting the pledge is required to use Nextdoor. 

  • Improved community moderation by launching a supplement to our Neighborhood Leads program with a new “community reviewer” role. Since then, we have added over 100k Community Reviewers. 

  • In partnership with The New Quo, Nextdoor has launched an online course specifically for Neighborhood Leads and Community Reviewers that provides tools on inclusive moderation and anti-bias education. 

Guests:

Arielle Pardes, senior writer at WIRED; she tweets

Will Payne, assistant professor in geographic information science at Rutgers University who researches spacial data and urban inequality; he tweets

Ralinda Harvery Smith, freelance writer based in Santa Monica and Nextdoor user; last summer she wrote the LA Times Op-Ed “I’m the Black person Nextdoor, trying to sort the site’s value from its ugliness”; she tweets

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