Nextdoor has removed the “Forward to Police” feature. The site, which people often use to get help finding a lost pet, is removing the feature as part of their anti-racism work. Obviously, people will still be able to use their phone to call the police if they are in danger or if they want to report a crime.
We have made the decision to remove the Forward to Police feature from Nextdoor. As part of our anti-racism work and our efforts to make Nextdoor a place where all neighbors feel welcome, we have been examining all aspects of our product. After speaking with members and public agency partners, it is clear that the Forward to Police feature does not meet the needs of our members and only a small percentage of law enforcement agencies choose to use the tool.
Previous to this change, Nextdoor stated that law enforcement agencies have had an additional feature that they can enable called “Forward to Police”, which allows a neighbor on Nextdoor to forward their safety post or urgent alert to local law enforcement. Nextdoor has now removed that feature.
Bloomberg CityLab reported that Nextdoor’s Forward to Police feature was introduced in 2016. It was added because police officers cannot view private neighborhood groups. The feature offered police departments a way to field neighborhood complaints directly without monitoring every post like a blotter. CityLab reported that “dozens of” police “departments across the country had signed up” for the Forward to Police feature.
The Root posted an article titled: “The Racist Nextdoor”, written by Michael Harriot. It provides plenty of examples of racism on Nextdoor. The article includes information posted on Nextdoor from people who described the racist things their neighbor’s posted on their local Nextdoor.
It is good that Nextdoor has removed their Forward to Police feature. There is plenty of evidence that racist people were using that feature as a means to harass and abuse people who aren’t white (including children). Allowing racist people to forward their complaints to police departments through Nextdoor is dangerous for the person that is being reported.
The removal of the feature means those who want to contact their local police department will have to do it themselves, by phone, where they may be asked for their names. Perhaps removing people’s ability to write racist things on Nextdoor anonymously,and then get the police involved through Nextdoor, will make neighborhoods safer.
Nextdoor allows communities to easily create private websites to facilitate communications among neighbors and build stronger neighborhoods. It was based on the idea that the neighborhood is one of the most important and useful communities in a person’s life. You can now sell your items on Nextdoor.
Nextdoor announced the For Sale and Free category. It is an improved way for neighbors to sell and give away used goods on Nextdoor. At the time I am writing this, the For Sale and Free category is available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, as well as in Oklahoma City, Memphis, and Jacksonville.
Here is what is new:
* The Classified category has been changed to the For Sale and Free category.
* There is now a “no longer available” setting that you can use once your items are sold or given away.
* Replies only by private message – This was done to reduce the noice in the public newsfeed. There will be no public replies to posts in the For Sale and Free category.
* Option to share with a broader local area – You can choose to make your item visible beyond your Nearby Neighbors.
In addition, there will soon be improved moderation of For Sale and Free posts. Lead moderation in that category will soon match the moderation process for other types of content.
Nextdoor put together a helpful blog post with more details about the For Sale and Free category. It includes information about what is allowed, and what is not allowed, in that category. There is also some advice how to post your item in the For Sale and Free category.
I joined hyperlocal-focused website Nextdoor sometime over the last year. I’m not entirely sure how I got onto the site, but it probably had something to do with Facebook. Anyway, since joining Nextdoor, I’ve actually found it to be a pretty useful tool for connecting with my local online community. Yeah, I guess people used to just know their neighbors. But who has the time and/or inclination to go around knocking on doors in the 21st century? There are too many TV shows to binge watch. Too many social networks to update (probably about the latest TV show you just finished watching).
One thing I’ve noticed quite often about Nextdoor is that people use it as a resource for recommendations. It makes sense. Need to hire a plumber, roofer, or flooring contractor? Just ask your neighbors who they’ve used, and what kind of experiences they’ve had. And apparently, the staff at Nextdoor have noticed this, too. The company recently announced via e-mail that it has improved its recommendation system:
We’re excited to announce some big improvements to your neighborhood Recommendations section that make it easier to find the businesses most recommended by your neighbors.Here’s what’s new:
Ranked category lists that highlight the businesses most recommended by your neighbors
Business pages that organize all of your neighbors’ comments about the relevant business in one place
Ability for neighbors to tag their comments with the relevant business pages to make their content easier to find
There are already plenty of online resources available for reviews of local businesses. So, Nextdoor isn’t reinventing the wheel here. Still, many of these sites often get taken over by shady practices or spam posts. If Nextdoor can keep those annoyances away, it could really become a useful tool for finding and vetting local services. I’ll be interested to see how this new recommendation system evolves over time.