The Police Are Watching on Nextdoor
While posting content about protesters and other individuals may seem innocuous, or even helpful, Nextdoor users should be aware that in all likelihood, the police are watching
Several days into the Bay Area uprisings over the killing of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin, and communities on Nextdoor, a neighborhood social network, erupted in predictable fearmongering.
“A peaceful protest is 1 thing, but I think looters should be shot,” wrote a Nextdoor user in San Francisco. “ON — THE — SPOT!”
“I don’t own a gun but curious how others are planning to defend themselves of their property in case riots get violent,” wrote another.
Though posts like these are typically targeted to other citizens in the community, users may not realize that anything published on Nextdoor can end up in the hands of law enforcement. And given Nextdoor users’ notorious history of racial profiling, the platform’s cozy relationship with police is especially worrisome.
For years, Nextdoor has aggressively recruited law enforcement onto its platform, coaching departments on how to build a friendly appearance on the app. “The big takeaway from Nextdoor was to encourage us to send out more information on tips [and department] efforts,” Esther Mota, crime prevention supervisor at the San Jose Police Department, wrote to a colleague in an email last year obtained by OneZero, referring to a meeting with a Nextdoor representative. “At this point, we will continue to keep our one way communication with the residents.”
On Nextdoor, the Homeless Are the Enemy
The platform built for neighborhood news often scapegoats the most disadvantaged communities
While many platforms allow police departments to set up accounts, Nextdoor has been particularly friendly to law enforcement, promoting police on its website, launching custom policing tools, and soliciting police input to develop these novel features.
Through a California Public Records Act request, OneZero obtained documents and internal…