OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Nextdoor is implementing changes on how users can report incidents after residents in a Bay Area neighborhood complained posts on the social network fostered racial profiling.
“Folks were writing posts like, ‘Black man driving by slowly making a U-turn, watch out,’” said Shikira Porter of Neighbors for Racial Justice.
Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia said that would change.
“We have designed a set of features that will help members understand the dangers of racial profiling and prevent them from making posts that can be seen as discriminatory,” Tolia told KPIX 5.
After complaints that Nextdoor was fostering racial profiling, the website aimed at connecting neighbors said it would change the way people post on it.
If a user now wants to report a crime or suspicious activity, they would be required to fill out extra forms and questions to give a fair description.
“This form is now doing is forcing them into no longer being able to spew their racist attitudes…That they are forced into doing something different,” Porter said.
The hope is that people will be forced to spend more time thinking about whom they are reporting online and why, instead of making assumptions based on race.
“Maybe this man was looking for his friend’s house, and now you’ve blasted his information and connecting him to a possible crime,” Porter said.
Nextdoor serves nearly 100,000 communities, but it took only one neighborhood in Oakland to change the site.
“It is unheard of, I think, for a technology company to change their platform in a way that in some ways makes is harder to report activities, but to do it for a reason that is actually educating people about racial profiling,” said Oakland Vice Mayor Annie Campbell Washington.
So far, the site is testing out the new requirements in all Bay Area counties and some East Coast cities. Nextdoor plans to implement the changes to the entire site this summer.