I don’t plan to spend a whole lot more time or space discussing the stalker/vigilante/fascist neighborhood surveillance network ‘Nextdoor’, but thought I would post something of a summary analysis about what I’ve learned and what I feel others should be aware of about this drama and chaos-filled “social” network, which has already been associated with racial profiling, neighborhood conflict, and violence.
This will be a summary of issues I have personally seen on Nextdoor between at least 2 cities, and I will include links to articles with examples and commentary that support my own analysis and experience. Do you have similar experiences on Nextdoor or other vigilante apps?
Nextdoor enables racially motivated vigilantism, provides a platform for organized, 1900’s-style misrepresentation of Blacks and lynching of targets defined by neighborhood mobs. The network has already taken criticism for this. Just before the Jan 6 attempted insurrection, users posted “AntiFa and BLM are coming to our neighborhoods!”
Black Lives Matter meets a resounding “All Lives Matter” on Nextdoor, and BLM is widely condemned by network moderators and users. Posts in support of BLM were/are removed. Nextdoor itself offered a PR statement claiming they support BLM and oppose racism, but this led to a large, angry *backlash* from Nextdoor moderators, who resoundingly DO NOT support BLM.
Moderators, known as ‘Neighborhood Leads’, become moderators simply by being the first users to create a ‘neighborhood group’ and can control that neighborhood the way they please with little to no company oversight. Mind you, these Neighborhood Leads are *unpaid moderators* who do this because…. they enjoy it, or they benefit from it personally or financially somehow. ND has had to change its policies and roll out a new tool…. to *stop users* from racially profiling blacks, hispanics, and other dark-skinned folks. If you are on the network today, you can see that their changes have had no effect on the problem whatsoever, and have just pushed the fascists to include more additional details about black people when stalking them for no reason.
Nextdoor feeds the pre-primed, over-paranoid Fox News crowd, and is slowly becoming a replacement for “Local News” where the news focuses heavily on violence, gang activity, unhoused people, or “unusual” events-
Local news, which has shifted toward violence, murder, and criminality in the last 50 years despite crime overall dropping in that same time period, is slowly being replaced by Nextdoor in terms of the role they play in stirring up paranoid, typically 55 and older, white, Judeo-Christian Americans.
As neighborhoods become more paranoid, certain individuals become more stigmatized, users of ND begin to call the police more often, even in neighborhoods with low crime. If you speak against this propaganda-driven hysteria, these folks will pivot from attacking a stranger to attacking *you*, claiming that you might also be suspicious, you might be related to the criminal they are talking about, etc.
Nextdoor claims to have a “no politics or racism” rule, but moderators and established users promote right-wing, ‘Q-Anon’ Trumpist politics and gang up on users who post other politics. ND waited until after the Jan 6 insurrection attempt to classify ‘Q-anon’ as a hate group and rampant racism, bigotry, and right-wing ideology still exist-
On Nextdoor, it is extremely common to find right-wing, conservative talking points and politics, including proselytization and religious commentary, promotion of right-wing politicians, etc, but if you advocate anything even remotely left-leaning(they would call you a “liberal”), if you offer humane, science and evidence-based solutions for handling unhoused or mentally ill folks, or if you offer solutions that don’t involve using police actions, you are engaging in “un-neighborly behavior” and can be censored or blocked arbitrarily by a mob of your neighbors.
This experience on Nextdoor is not rare nor unique, and my own experience is strikingly similar to many of the negative posts, articles, and comments you can find anywhere about the company. A brief Google search for “Nextdoor violence” or “vigilantism” should provide dozens of examples.
This man decided to sue Nextdoor because ND has begun working with law enforcement and local government at an official level, yet allowed his account to be blocked and his voice to be removed from local politics via bullying. He argues that the “public square” is online, and that his ability to speak and engage in that public space have been restricted. I tend to agree with his point of view.
“Our entire country—and California, and the Bay Area specifically—we’re at a 40-year historic low for violent crime … and yet people are walking around like we’re living in the most violent place in the world,” Hofer told CityLab. “These vendors are doing a really great job of creating a sense of fear.”
Commercial interests promote security and surveillance systems (Ring, Sentinel, etc) on Nextdoor, users share and compare their doorbell and home surveillance videos to try to “ID” random people they see in their towns, enhancing the sense of fear and danger, and the identities of the “suspects” reported on ND are typically unknown, leading to vague, unqualified associations made between known and unknown people.
Realtors and house-flippers also run amok on ND, showing up under many city government communications to attack officials as “not tough enough on crime” or “spending too much money/we need more BUSINESS FRIENDLY leaders”, etc, in order to create political momentum toward more right-wing officials, more cops, less humanism.
Nextdoor, and apps like it (Citizen, Neighbor, etc) are a relatively new, tech-driven phenomenon, and have surged into greater popularity during the covid19 lockdowns. In every neighborhood where ND creates a local group, paranoia, fighting, and frivolous police reports go through the roof, and this is something everyone in every community should be aware of. These networks, as they stand today, are tools of fascists, grifters, and frauds, they enable and platform the worst people among us, and they *will* lead to greater violence and disharmony in America.