Nextdoor Users Say the Platform Has a Racism Problem

Multiple users said their accounts were disabled after posting in support of Black Lives Matter

nextdoor neighborhood app
Critics say Nextdoor's lack of trained moderators allows racism to flourish on the app.
ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images
By Kayla Kibbe / June 10, 2020 8:00 am

In addition to its scamming problem, Nextdoor also has a Karen problem. That’s how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez put it last week when she called out the social-networking platform (among other companies) for posting in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement while failing to address the racism happening in their own backyards.

A recent article from The Verge digs into Nextdoor’s “Karen problem,” (a slang term used to refer to entitled and often racist middle-aged white women) revealing a toxic online community that silences Black users while giving their white neighbors a platform to spread racism throughout their neighborhoods. Black Nextdoor users around the country told The Verge they don’t feel safe using the app, saying that the social-networking platform initially launched to help community members connect over missing keys or local businesses has given them an unblocked view into the racism inside their neighbors’ homes.

“As a black person, I don’t feel safe at all using it for anything,” one user told The Verge. “I’m always terrified, thinking ‘Oh my god. I already know what so-and-so thinks of us.’ This is a very horrible situation to be in.”

Meanwhile, users also told The Verge that Nextdoor’s system of leaving unpaid and untrained community moderators in charge of policing bad behavior on the platform tends to result in moderators striking down posts from people of color or in support of Black issues (such as Black Lives Matter protests) while racist posts from white users remain unchecked. In addition to the platform’s history of racial profiling, as chronicled in meme accounts @BestofNextdoor, people of color also reported getting kicked off the platform entirely, with multiple users telling The Verge their accounts were disabled after posting in support of the Black Lives Matter movement or otherwise promoting thoughtful, inclusive conversations about race.

“It’s clear that they’re not addressing the problems,” Jade Magnus Ogunnaike, deputy senior campaign manager for Color of Change, told The Verge. “Nextdoor needs to commit to not only recruiting within the black community, but they really need to bring in civil rights experts on staff.”

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