Nextdoor: Where Privacy Is a Double-Edged Sword | Street Fight

Nextdoor: Where Privacy Is a Double-Edged Sword

Nextdoor: Where Privacy Is a Double-Edged Sword

Nextdoor logoWe routinely connect with friends everywhere on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. But often, to our embarrassment and at a risk to our safety, we don’t know our neighbors. The hyperlocal site Nextdoor wants to return people to the good old days: When everybody knew who lived next door and down the block, or in the same building — the yesteryear sit-com world of Ralph and Alice Kramden and their upstairs neighbors Ed and Trixie Norton in Brooklyn. And there is great belief in the revenue potential of this folksy bid: To date, Nextdoor has raised $40.2 million, from backers such as Benchmark Capital, Google Ventures and Greylock Partners, on a valuation of at least $100 million.

Since its launch in October 2011, Nextdoor has connected people living in 14,000 neighborhoods across the U.S., adding an additional 60 to 80 neighborhoods each day, according to co-founder and marketing VP Sarah Leary, who notes that on average, Nextdoor neighborhoods have “hundreds of members” (the company won’t disclose its total national membership). While the connections on these “neighborhoods” start virtually, Nextdoor is designed to encourage members to meet up in the real world as well.

Nextdoor’s pitch is its members-only approach. As in, only the residents of a particular neighborhood can become a member of its Nextdoor digital equivalent. Non-members can’t even look at the site, much less participate in it, although the company has loosened up a bit to allow adjacent neighborhoods to connect with each other. The purpose of the privacy controls, Leary said, is to give member neighbors a “non-threatening way to share information” about things such as local events; school activities; recommendations for services like plumbers and babysitters; recent crime activity; upcoming garage sales and the like. Leary says that postings break down in representation roughly this way: 11% events, 22% civic issues, 20% crime and safety, 14% classifieds, 26% recommendations and the balance on various other topics.

To date, Nextdoor has done little to monetize its reach. Leary says that Nextdoor is putting most of its energy into building out communities and will begin competing in the $115 billion local advertising market when the network achieves critical mass. How big is that and when will it happen?

“We believe we will have reached critical mass when we have a certain penetration in a market. For example, in San Francisco we feel like we have reached penetration because 97% of the neighborhoods in San Francisco have adopted Nextdoor. When over 80% of the neighborhoods in a city have adopted Nextdoor, we feel very confident about that market,” she says.

But first, Nextdoor has some issues to sort out in whether and how much neighbors want to be walled in from other communities. In researching this story, I signed up for the service and discovered firsthand its power of engagement — but found its privacy walls a potential barrier to  connectedness throughout the Charleston community, where there are 19 Nextdoor sites and a few dozen others in the metro area.

To sign up, l entered my email address and postal address. Nextdoor informed me there was an existing site for my neighborhood of Radcliffeborough, which had been created about 45 days earlier. (If a neighborhood doesn’t exist on Nextdoor, a resident can create it and become its “Founding Member,” in effect, administrator). To confirm I was not an Internet troll, Nextdoor gave me three options for how I could be verified: By post card with unique code, phone call to a number registered to my street address in Radcliffeborough or credit card billing address matching my residence. I’m not sure, though, that Nextdoor’s verification process is any more secure than NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton’s. A friend who doesn’t live in Radcliffeborough was able to become a certified member of Nextdoor by claiming a neighborhood address that apparently wasn’t checked out.

I became Radcliffeborough member No. 30, and very quickly found myself getting more involved in the neighborhood, and getting to know residents whom I might otherwise never meet. Through Nextdoor connections, I learned about and  joined, Keep Charleston Beautiful, a volunteer group that has helped Charleston earn its “best city in the world” rating given by readers of Condé Nast Traveler.

Radcliffeborough has some “town and-gown” issues with adjacent and fast-growing College of Charleston, mainly having to do with litter, trash and housing-code violations in former single-family houses that have been  rapidly converting to off-campus apartments. This is a story that needed to be told in photos. So, accompanied by Radcliffeborough Neighborhood Association President Robert Ballard, I toured the neighborhood, and took about 10 photos of what turned about to be numerous problems at off-campus apartments, including trash dumped directly into the street, a third-floor balcony with precarious support and a tangle of exposed live wires strung to the side of a warren of apartments.

Imagining myself a 21st-century version of muckraking journalist Jacob Riis, I began putting together an illustrated article for Radcliffeborough’s Nextdoor page documenting all the problems. But I quickly learned that Nextdoor only allows one image per post. I wouldn’t be able to tell the story the way it needed to be told — in pictures that couldn’t be ignored or explained away.

But even if I had been able to upload all my photos, it dawned on me I wouldn’t be able to bring my article to the attention of the College of Charleston or the city government in an effort to get the problems fixed. Because of Nextdoor’s privacy controls, the only people who could see the post were other neighbors who were Radcliffeborough’s Nextdoor members (and one adjacent community). You won’t find a single Nextdoor post on Google or any other search site or in the world of social media.

Nextdoor is right to be sensitive to its members’ privacy, but when it erects virtual walls around each of its neighborhoods so they can’t use the site to address their issues to the appropriate authorities and the rest of the outside world, that, I submit, is going too far.

54 thoughts on “Nextdoor: Where Privacy Is a Double-Edged Sword

  1. And that is EXACTLY the biggest problem with Nextdoor. So many neighborhood issues are larger than the microhood. Silo’ing is a VERY bad thing for anything more than coffee klatsches and end-of-the-street pickup games. Our site is, after five years of community collaboration, read by local government officials who pay attention to problems and respond, among other benefits of having one community come together in one place. Issues that affect one microhood in our neighborhood affect most others. Even if you post a lost pet or a stolen car – it’s just as likely to be found five miles away on the other side of the peninsula as on the block, but if you’re just posting it behind a wall to the people close by, it might never be found.

    Our commenters even helped police catch a killer who was seen climbing out of a ravine hours later, and found three neighborhoods away. If the original spotter had just posted on his microsite “Saw a suspicious dude climbing out of the ravine,” the murder would likely remain unsolved.

    Oh, and as a bonus, we found out that a member of a local Nextdoor microsite was ripping off our reporting on a recent incident. Link to us? Great. Paraphrase? Fine. Steal copyrighted news reporting without attribution? I wouldn’t have known, since it’s not indexed, if not for a tipster.

    Tear down the walls. Unify neighborhoods, don’t break them down into siloettes. And as for impending ND advertising (mentioned in a Sacramento event this week)? They’re not getting $40 million for diving into SMB advertising. Like Patch, if they get anything, it’ll be Pepsi, coast to coast. Any corporate foray into neighborhood news/information is a bad one. If you want a neighborhood microsite, set up a real “blog.” Which among other things, will NOT limit you to one image. – Tracy

  2. I see a use for both.

    We have discussions in our neighborhood that we, certainly I, wouldn’t have written had it been something completely public.

    Like my Facebook page, many thoughts I want to share only with a select group of people.

    1. Facebook has three levels of communication: 1) among Friends (limited to them), 2) one on one with a specific Friend and 3) public (among all Facebook users and beyond). Nextdoor has only two levels of communication, both private: 1) among members of the neighborhood (and one or more designated adjacent neighborhoods) and 2) one on one between specific neighbors. What it needs is a third — public — level of communication, where content, including posts, can be shared beyond the neighborhood. For public communication, neighborhood members could still choose to keep all their personal information — except their name on a posting — private, as they now do.

      1. Tom,

        I fully agree. It’s a super easy fix, and potentially a category killer: Just add a “post publicly” function.

  3. I belong to a NextDoor due to my job and if it wasn’t beneficial to my job I would never go back. I have nicknamed ours “The Crime Blog,” because that’s all any of the residents want to discuss.

    There’s a lot of hand wringing, fear mongering and racial profiling. “OMG, has anyone seen the Asian girl walking, texting on her phone? It was 9:30 at night and she seemed suspicious.” “Alert! Two black guys walked past my house and they didn’t seem nice at all. I think they’re up to no good!” “I called the cops on two women going door to door. Turns out they were handing out religious literature, but I’m glad I called anyway.”

    Ugh.

    1. I dare say that if the site is beneficial to your job, and yet you loathe all other aspects of the site, then spend the money for straightforward advertising.

  4. I quit NextDoor last night. A landlady was having a grievance with a tenant, and posted a thread that this person is a terrible tenant–and don’t ever rent to him! She named him by name, said where he worked, (which turns out, she got wrong), and we told her to take it down. It was not just unethical, it was possibly libelous. I felt so sorry for this poor tenant publicly humiliated. Well, it was a back and forth exchange with her, then someone else chimed in and said “Enough already!–use private messaging, because apparently he/she didn’t want to “wade through” all the comments. I told them that they don’t have to read the thread. And I felt it was an important discussion to keep public, since this woman was publicly libeling this poor tenant. And that I was really disheartened by how close-minded he/she was being, trying to censor this conversation. Well, he flagged me. So I got flagged for THAT, but the original libelous landlady didn’t? I guess people only want to talk about garage sales, not important issues. Another landlord saw her post and agreed with me, and he resigned as well. This woman should have been moderated.

    1. The one for our community lets fake people on there the Leads run the show and they are the worst people in our community!!!

    2. They disabled my year old account where I founded my neighborhood and brought in 50 members because “a neighbor” complained that my name sounded fake. Apparently, “Momo” is not a legitimate name? So insulting. Eff them.

    3. So, you knew that what the landlady was doing was libelous, and complained about it – but did not report it to authorities? – but when someone advised using private messaging, you went the route of “this is a public forum.” And, “no one is forcing you” to use it. Public forum is not public license to say anything you want. This is why there should be no social media.

        1. Geez venez, maybe some people just found this site. Nextdoor is a huge problem and every site that gives the truth of how it is negative is well worth it

          1. 8Pi–First of all, I did not know the landlady or her name because she posted anonymously, so I could not report her. Second of all, the person who advised me to use private messaging did so because they didn’t like the discussion, not because I and other members we were breaking any rules. If they didn’t like it, they didn’t have to read it. It seems like a lot of people here don’t really understand social media and what it’s for. A public internet forum IS a license to say whatever you want, unless you are breaking the forum’s rules, which I wasn’t. And I have deleted the post because I keep getting notifications to reply on something I wrote two years ago, which is ludicrous.

          2. True. But I deleted the post because I keep getting notifications that people were responding to something I wrote two years ago, and I barely even remember what it was about, at this point! Kind of silly.

          3. True, Ronald. But I keep getting notifications that someone is replying to a post I wrote two years ago, and I open it out of curiosity, and it’s this poster 8Pi yelling at me who didn’t understand the original issue and is probably a troll. Do I need this kind of negativity in my life? I deleted the OP. There is a lot of stupid on this site.

  5. The one for Riverstone in Alamo Ranch has horrible Leads they even allow fake
    people on there they don’t care they want numbers not residents. They even allowed a sex offender on there!!! Anybody want to get on nextdoor just use someone else’s address and anybody can get on there. All this was reported and shown to nextdoor and nextdoor didn’t care!!! Nextdoor doesn’t care about “SAFETY” that’s a joke!!! If you DARE use nextdoor you were warned, Watch out not a safe site at all !!!

  6. NEXTDOOR corporate has one official set of rules. However, the leads in each Neighborhood are given carte blanche to craft their own rules. Our actual “bricks & mortar” neighborhood is a remarkable living neighborhood of human homeowners. After too many solicitations from businesses, realtors, and the like from outside the boundaries of our real world neighborhood–
    and way too many angst ridden & derogatory posts from “virtual neighbors”– I finally quit the bogus online world of NEXTDOOR.

  7. Unfortunately Nextdoor is just like any other business in that you have to have the right people in the right positions. Our community uses volunteers and has committees set up with members from each section to ensure the community it properly represented. The board of directors approves budgets and enforces deed restrictions.
    In our community, we use Nextdoor to keep an open communication with neighbors about events, issues and crime that affects our community. It is moderated by a small group of people with a head lead. The leads bring any issues they can not handle to the head lead and the head lead brings any issues that the board needs to address to the board.
    If there are issues that need to be addressed but are not within the purview of the board, then the head lead gathers the appropriate information and brings the issue to the right party.
    The system is not perfect but it allows us to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect and that there is no personal attacks, campaigning or mass advertising. Each member that needs verification is verified according to their address as listed by google maps.
    If you use Nextdoor as a tool and ensure that the rules are followed and applied to everyone equally then the system works.
    In many cases about Nextdoor not working or the many issues that come up, it is more a concern of the people moderating the community incorrectly. If you are unhappy with your community, go to a board meeting and voice your concern, join the board and make changes, get involved but don’t point out the short comings of a few individuals as an overall problem of Nextdoor. In that scenario we should be mad at the Post Office for the 20% off Bed Bath and Coupons we get every week. We should be mad at the political party for a candidate sending out a campaign flyer.

    1. Since when does an HOA use NEXTDOOR? Our board is so antiquated that half of them don’t know how to use a computer. When we served a couple years ago and suggested using social media you should have seen the cold shoulders on that idea!

  8. I discovered 3 days ago that the NextDoor site is sitting on top of a software “PLATFORM” run by a company Maponics (who is repackaging and reselling every bit of this information to Facebook, Google, etc.) READ THE PRIVACY POLICY ON NEXTDOOR. NEXTDOOR ADDS THE FOLLOWING TO THE USER EXPERIENCE: SERVER LOGS to collect data, WEB BEACONS attached to their website and emails to track your usage. They currently own NON-PUBLIC INFORMATION ABOUT EVERYONE APPARENTLY, ACCORDING TO THEIR PRIVACY POLICY. If you use Facebook Connect, these two services can and will cross-populate platforms given a chance to do so. SEE THE NEXTDOOR PRIVACY POLICY, PAGE 2, LAST PARAGRAPH: re: Facebook Connect.

    HOW DOES A COMPANY BRAND GO FROM NOTHING TO INTERNATIONAL in 3 YEARS??? If NextDoor was a startup, they would have to build infrastructure, test for stability on multiple browsers, build up security, create marketing plans and sales plans, and hire and sell. 3 YEARS TO INTERNATIONAL BRANDING…SEEMS VERY UNREALISTIC, EVEN WITH TONS OF MONEY AT ONE’S FINGERTIPS. BEWARE…NEXTDOOR IS NOT WHAT THEY SEEM.

    REAL ESTATE AGENTS ARE BEING RECRUITED TO BECOME “LEADS” IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOODS. THEY ARE ALSO TASKED WITH REPORTING BACK ON YOU, LOOK AT THE POLICIES: one such quote from the policy for verifying you live where you live:
    “In addition, neighborhood Leads can see unverified neighbors and their addresses and manually verify them. To further help with neighbor verification, Leads may also be able to see all neighbors’ addresses, regardless of their display settings. We may inform Leads who has joined the neighborhood.

    ANOTHER POLICY DISCLAIMER IF YOU MOVE:
    “We may notify the neighborhood Leads of your departure from the neighborhood and give you an opportunity to explain it to the Leads.”

    WOW, BLOCK NANNIES FOR ALL!!! I contacted a local real estate (Moss Beach, CA) agent name Trish McCoy regarding her setting up the Nextdoor website (she states she is the Lead and she set it up). When asked about the privacy policy set up by Nextdoor, she claimed she never read it, told me that the quotes I have printed here and from their privacy policy was NOT TRUE AND THEN SHE RESORTED TO IMMEDIATE NAME CALLING KNOWN AS CHARACTER ASSASSINATION FOR SIMPLY ASKING HER IF SHE HAD READ THE POLICIES AND UNDERSTOOD THE PLATFORM PART WHERE THE DATA WAS BEING MINED AND PACKAGED FOR SELL. She was upset for my asking her about Maponics and their policies and MS. MCCOY STATED SHE DID NOT CARE IF THEY WERE SELLING EVERYONE’S INFORMATION. She told me that she refused to view the privacy policy, so we ended the conversation.

    The professional backgrounds of the individuals at MAPONICS ARE VERY INTERESTING. It appears that they report their information back to EVERY CORPORATION UNDER THE SUN, and specialize in GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE (see TIMM.PDF). There are over FORTY THOUSAND SITES UNDER THIS NEXTDOOR BRAND if you read the Maponics information, ALONG WITH OWNERSHIP IN MARKETS ACROSS THE GLOBE: They are integrated into Real Estate, medical, academics, emergency services, and probably many more not found, yet.

  9. Note: If you are non-member, the Nextdoor Privacy policy states that they can collect information on NON-MEMBERS and they MUST CONTACT NEXTDOOR TO HAVE THEIR NON-PUBLIC INFORMATION DELETED. TRY TO CONTACT THEM AND SEE WHAT SORT OF RESPONSE YOU GET???

  10. Nextdoor removed me for not allowing them to my full name by the way i was using my real name i just didnt want my last name spelled out fully due to identity theft and heres the end result…

    Thanks for contacting us about
    this issue. Both our Member Agreement and our Neighborhood Guidelines
    require that members use their real name on the site, and not an alias
    or abbreviation. You can read those policies here:

    Neighborhood Guidelines

    Member Agreement

    When a member reports that
    another member may not be using their real name, our Support team
    follows up on each report in accordance with these policies.

    While I can certainly
    understand your concern for privacy, at this time, we don’t allow
    members to abbreviate their last name for any reason. I’ve gone ahead
    and disabled your account for now. If you will consent to using your
    real name on the site, we will correct the name on your profile and
    reactivate your account. If don’t wish to use your real name on the
    site, let us know, and we can remove your account from Nextdoor.

    Best,

    Corina Waggoner

    Nextdoor Neighborhood Operations

    1. The same suspension of account occurred to us as well after we tried to complain about an actionable breach of state law which Nextdoor and its LEADS had allowed to go unchecked for weeks. Instead of dealing with the far more serious legal issue outlined in our complaint, Nextdoor suspended our account claiming I failed to use my “real name”. Read on for the rest of story.

      Quote: “ Hi Neighbor,

      I’m reaching out to let you know that the
      name you entered for your Nextdoor account, has been flagged by our system for
      not being your real name.

      Since we require our
      members to use their real names, I’ve temporarily disabled your account. I
      can reactivate it as soon as you let me know your real name. I will need proof
      of your real name and address in order to reactivate your account.

      One of the goals of Nextdoor is to create a
      safe, trusted environment where real life neighbors can connect with one
      another in a meaningful way. We believe that using your real name and identity builds
      trust and accountability and leads to more useful information sharing.

      I look forward to hearing from you soon.

      Best regards,

      Nina

      nextdoor.com

      The irony is that I have always used my REAL NAME but according to Nextdoor it didn’t match the name given to them by their LEADS. When I
      contacted the ‘LEADS” for our site, I discovered that one of the LEADS had listed her name as being the business sheowns! This “not real name” error has existed for over two years without being corrected by the Nextdoor Policy Police.
      Nextdoor has yet to apologize for their MULTI-YEAR failure of oversight of their LEAD’S behaviors.
      Nextdoor must apply their rules to THEMSELVES first. Nextdoor’s
      policy of empowering total strangers to become LEADS with unique authority to monitor the site they set up is fraught with problems. The integrity of any Nextdoor micro-site isby definition no better than the LEADS themselves.
      IMO, Nextdoor’s market integrity is a sham.
      In our case, Nextdoor’s clear failure to proactively monitor any individual website left the door open for libelous language to be posted without any oversight or editing from anyone. The LEADS simply aren’t forced to monitor the sight they set up, nor do they receive special training Nextdoor’s nebulous and ambiguous policies.
      When our complaint was ignored by the LEADS, contacting Nextdoor itself became a nightmare of finger pointing and abdication of their own demanded rules.
      Worse yet, the outcome of any action taken by
      Nextdoor in response to any complaint is a “state secret” according to
      Nextdoor.

      Quote: “While I cannot share the details when
      we interact with other members, I am working on this issue and will take
      appropriate action, if necessary.”
      Best regards,
      Nina
      nextdoor.com

      Considering that our account is blocked, we
      can’t even monitor what changes MIGHT be affected by the Nextdoor Policy Police.
      The bottom line is that
      Nextdoor is simply one more “data mining hope we can sell the information to
      advertisers” internet nannycam which should be avoided at all costs.
      We will never use Nextdoor again for any reason.

      1. I am a lead and founder but leads don’t really have any power on that site. It’s basically just a name you get. You can’t like, kick people out or anything. Leads are pretty powerless. Also I was on for over a year and brought in 50 members and they just disabled my account because they said “a neighbor” told them my name sounded fake. I’m not allowed to use my name, Momo, because it sounds fake. So what do I do, make up a fake name that sounds more real? It’s also insulting to have some neighbor decide my name doesn’t sound legit (we are a diverse nation, how can you dictate what a person’s name should look/sound like?) Also the NextDoor rules as quoted to me says you use your real name OR the name which you introduce yourself to people as and people know you as in the community. So they broke their own rules by disabling my account by not respecting that I AM known by everyone as Momo in my community. But hey, they think it’s not a real name. So eff all the Japanese and Indian folks who are named Momo, right? They need a more American sounding name???? Racist.

        1. I just got kicked out too for he same reasons. I listed my name by which I am known in my community and since I’m international, the customer service rep (Garrett Gonzales – senior most rep apparently) once asked me for credit card statements as proof and then another time asked me for passport for proof. How can such personal information be required? I also asked him to share written proof of the process so I know I am not being discriminated against and his reply is more of an ultimatum- I either comply or get kicked out. Don’t I have the right to know what the process is and what privacy measures/ criteria Nextdoor has so my information is not being sold or worse I’m not a victim of identity theft?
          My ask is pretty reasonable. I also got kicked out because a lead reported me. Clearly racism and reverse racism issues along with public bashing of neighbors is far less important than my name. So much for innocent until proven guilty–I got kicked out without even basic request for information.

          Seriously, NextDoor????
          S

          1. The same thing just happened to me with Nextdoor. For background, I live in a mostly white neighborhood in Old Oakland and there is a lot of ignorant and blatantly racist profiling, etc. happening on Nextdoor. Myself and a few others have attempted to address this by politely and intelligently speaking up about these issues. There is one neighbor in a bordering neighborhood who has taken to flagging all of our posts and accusing us of having fake names to get us to go away- please keep in mind, no one is writing anything provocative. We’re basically suggesting that writing a Crime&Safety post to not write “Black teen with no shirt on acting suspicious”. Anyway, this was met with a lot of protest and harassment, in particular from one neighbor who can’t stand that anyone is disagreeing with him. Fast forward to my account being deleted. When I asked “why”, the Neighborhood Operations Director, Gordon, emailed to tell me that my name sounds fake. I am Asian. I have an Asian last name. Another neighbor who was also deactivated, has a non-American sounding name. So, because my name is not “Mary Smith”, I have to fax Nextdoor my ID and share my LinkedIn *and* give Nextdoor permission to contact my employer! Essentially, Nextdoor is racially profiling it’s own members in addition to fostering a community of racial profiling and bigotry. If you are foreign and your ignorant neighbor thinks your last name is “too Asian”, you have to share personal and sensitive data with Nextdoor. I have emailed the Ops Director about 5 times asking for the written process in addition to a link to where that process is on the website/app. It cannot be legal to not require ALL members to jump through the same hoops as non-American name members. Also, my account was removed without any warning or notification. I had to go looking for an answer. And the answer I got was that my birth name “sounds too fake” and I have to send my personal information in to prove it is not fake. This isn’t right, like not legal right. I mentioned the same thing as you, that there are neighbors blatantly making racist comments and harassing other neighbors, yet I am getting kicked off because of my Asian name. No response. Nothing. No process was emailed to me. This same neighbor who harassed us online apparently damaged property of the neighbor he got kicked off before me, since addresses are public. Today, the day I was deactivated and the day I saw that this insane man had flagged all of my posts, a very large and extremely heavy potted tree in front of my door was knocked to the ground. Not only will I not share any personal information with Nextdoor in the form of ID, etc., but I am happy to no longer be on that awful app. It is dangerous to share your information, address, etc. The sign up process fools their target demographic (older not so computer savvy people), because it makes them think that by entering their phone number, CC, address, that they are being “verified” somehow. That is not the case. I signed up with my mobile number that has an out of state area code *and* I had not yet changed my mailing address on the account to my current address. My mobile number was in no way associated with my address used to open my Nextdoor account. They are just collecting as much user data and information as possible to sell and use to get more investor money. I have asked multiple times “how is my data being used” and gotten no answer. Let the racist idiots fear monger and sell dirty old sofas on Nextdoor and spread hatred as their data is collected and sold. Good riddance. I am contacting a couple of writers for a local paper to inform them of this name profiling that seems to be happening to many of us with non-American names. Nextdoor makes up rules as it goes along that benefit some and harm others.

          2. I hope everyone has reported these NextDoor activities to the state and federal offices of the Attorney and Inspector General and all other applicable consumer protection agencies.

        2. I founded my neighborhood. It was stated to everyone that joined that it was to basically vent and verbalize without abuse the corruption of our HOA. One member I had kicked off because she told others about where I and a couple other work and gave out other personal information. 6 months later not only was she allowed back on the site, but they removed me as a Lead and made her a lead. Bullshit site. Our neighborhood was at a high of 103 members and through door to door efforts, we have brought the membership down to 17 as of today. People started to see the site is not safe.

      2. Anyone using “reach out,” “reaching out,” etc., should be prohibited from speaking and writing. Do report Nexdoor to the appropriate agencies.

  11. To ALL neighbours: If , you want to try something else which is more safe & secure than Nextdoor do try Zipublik app currently on android only!

  12. Actually whenever we are going to book for rental we should make sure about the privacy and security then after its all the responsibility of a landlord to do a tenant screening that will help him/her for getting a better tenant for sure.

  13. The admins are not carefully selected, skillfully qualified, individuals. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can become one. Keep that in mind when you find yourself in conflict with a neighbor(s) that ‘knows where you live’. No matter how nice, we don’t always getalong with everyone, we are humans.

  14. I haven’t really used NextDoor, even though, as I have recently learned, our neighborhood participates in it.
    My problem is with the unnecessarily invasive (atrocious!) permissions the Android app requires. It looks like the company wants to collect more information about me than really necessary for the purpose of “NextDoor neighborhood bulletin board”.
    Among others, it wants to:
    find accounts on the device
    read your own contact card
    read your contacts
    find accounts on the device
    (It doesn’t look like that is because it creates its own account, as it doesn’t request “add or remove accounts”)
    read your own contact card
    read phone status and identity
    read call log
    read your text messages (SMS or MMS)
    approximate location (network-based)
    precise location (GPS and network-based)

    All those are clearly invasive and unnecessary for the functionality that is essential to the “neighborhood bulletin board”.

    And even this one probably is not really needed:
    view Wi-Fi connections

    I may understand why they required this:
    read calendar events plus confidential information
    add or modify calendar events and send email to guests without owners’ knowledge
    (it may offer to add some events to your calendar), but I am not overly thrilled about it snooping in my personal calendar, and I’d rather skip that capability.

    As for the location-related permission, the Privacy policy clearly says:
    “Currently, we use your location information to display your location to you on your neighborhood map. In the future, we may use your location information to allow you to tag your posts, photos and events, and display activities and content that may be relevant to your current location.”
    https://nextdoor.com/privacy_policy/
    Excuse me! Why do I need the app to tell me where I am? And I don’t want my location to be used for any tagging or whatsoever. That is not just a privacy, but also a SAFETY issue. But they want to know your behavior. And they want to know who your friends are. And they even try to ask for your credit card number as a way of verification. Do they also want your PIN number for that card?

    Besides, this information is not limited just to NextDoor’s internal use. The same privacy policy says:
    “Some of Nextdoor’s functionality may be operated by third party service providers, and in the course of providing this functionality, these service providers may have access to some of your personal data to facilitate your usage of this service.”

    And, of course, “Data Retention. Subject to any legal obligations to delete data, we may choose to retain information in our server logs, our databases and our records indefinitely.”

    NextDoor (and the unknown 3rd party providers) can misuse your information. But also, – in case of a break-in into their “secure servers”, think how much information about your gets exposed right away, and how easy it would be for a perpetrator to impersonate you. (You’ve heard about CIA chief’s e-mail account hack. Right?)

    Think, is it really worth it for you? For me, the answer is “NO”.

    I might try to look at the website version, but no mobile app.

    1. I did as well, under my real name. I created a fake account and the leads still haven’t figured it out yet.

  15. I too left NextDoor recently because they didn’t like me not using a real name. That’s right, I didn’t. I wanted to participate in discussing neighborhood related issues that often have a tendency to turn political and my world view is very different from the neighborhood norm. My real name is unique; I’m the only person with such a name probably in the whole city which makes finding where exactly I live a 30 sec online search. I just didn’t want to endanger my family to sickos who tend to take disagreements way too personally. Historically, that’s why many a writer has used a nom de plume in a public settings.

  16. as a lead you can close discussions, you can use your spouses log in, we had that happened. our HOA may dissolve because 10 HO’s don’t like the rules they signed off on?? the writer of this story was paid by Nextdoor to vouch for the site. you can mute another homeowner. you want see their racist post any more. if Fb and Twitter had a baby it would be Nextdoor. got off the site after being threatened daily just because I served on our HOA board. social media is the last thing a HOA board should deal with. it might be fine now but just might till a pissy neighbor shows up on your doorway at 10pm!! THIS IS A WARNING STAY AWAY FROM NEXTDOOR!!

  17. I am one of the more active members in our neighborhood along with a handful of great neighbors who care about the neighborhood. I just read a comment here that said Nextdoor seems great, until it isn’t. Unfortunately, I am beginning to agree.
    Things that are starting to make me want to delete my membership are becoming the norm. We have a lot of random unnecessary comments on otherwise important posts. The sheep that hide behind the likes on those comments but never contribute otherwise are a waste of my time. There is a lead in our neighborhood who is a joke. He ignores emails, cusses on comments, is very obnoxious, contributes to harassment and ignores flags. People have tried to get him removed as a lead. Nextdoor has named specifically what it would take for it to happen. He has done all of said things yet they won’t do it. So, why would anyone stay past what seems to be under the one year mark? Don’t let me get started on the antiquated user experience. If I can’t edit my comment easily, you’re just going to piss me off. Also, employees should be leads. I don’t see this company lasting much longer. Out of approx. 75 reviews, I’ve seen maybe three positive ones.

  18. They banned me for suggesting that pandering to the beggars in my hometown only invites many more as in Pleasanton CA there is a HUGE increase in the numbers of such people. And crime there is on the rise. And since I suggested there are a LOT of outlets for those people to get help, shelter and money and free food, etc, I suggested the begging only serves to get them alcohol or drugs. For that, Nextdoor banned me today. So screw them.

  19. If you live in a very liberal region such as the Bay Area, if you suggest anything that suggests something that liberal hate, you will be banned. Crappy service, no use using them anymore, they should re-name themselves Liberal Locals

  20. Nextdoor doesn’t solve the problems of unruly neighbors and maverick forum admins. Their uncreative solution is strict rules (which they can bend or ignore at will) and handing out punishment instead of anything resembling a self-moderating meritocracy as I had once hoped. The “real names” policy is clearly just so that they have better accuracy in building profiles and connections to sell to marketing and law enforcement customers. The neighbors are the product, you realize. It would be better for your neighborhood to just use a free blog or forum offered by hundreds of different online providers.

    You’ll read many complaints about Nextdoor staff being obstinate and unreasonable, but our experience with this will raise your hair on edge. Our forum was an alternate to the one our HOA runs and ruthlessly censors. Nextdoor knew this, and promised to protect us (HOA figures had joined and were making the atmosphere antagonistic). Nextdoor allowed us to grow and thrive, and then took Lead powers (weak as they are, it’s true) away from us, and handed it directly to the chap (and wife) who does most of the censoring in the old HOA forum! Nextdoor, you see, is quite willing to micromanage, take on personal vendettas, and interfere in the culture of an individual neighborhood. Freewill is a threat to them.

    See our horrible story here: tinyurl.com/dawsonseized

    Imagine Facebook taking your popular “Healthy Cooking” page away from you, along with every post you made, picture you took, every like, every follow, and handing it to McDonald’s because “we think it’s best – we’re sure you’ll love your new leader – ta ta now!”.

    Nextdoor is doing far more damage to neighborhoods than good. And damn little good at all. The corporates running (and micromanaging) the site operate like Nazis! Nextdoor is not committed to the American way of life, free speech, or democracy in any way.

  21. Why would anyone even join. Even where I live, homes are only a few yards away. If you cannot speak to people, then social media contact is not the answer. I received an invitation via USPS mail today. Why would I, or anyone else, feed the people who begin such absurd websites. Why would the person who never interacts with anyone in the neighborhood, (which is true of 99% of this neighborhood), do this? Is it the $25 Amazon gift card reward? Or, that it looks like this person writes for newspapers, so he’s figuring on getting some hot inside information that he can exploit?

  22. I don’t do social media. No offense intended toward those who love it, but I’d rather not live my life on a computer. For that reason, it did not occur to me that Nextdoor is exactly that. It has a few legitimate uses, but mainly it’s a big, virtual garage sale full of overpriced junk, as well as cleverly disguised commercial advertising. It also encourages mooching; i.e. people wanting to borrow this, that, or the other. Seriously? You’re so strapped that you can’t afford to buy or rent a garden hose, a ladder? Or am I the only one who doesn’t loan out my belongings to people I don’t even know? One of the things I’ve always liked about my neighborhood (that Nextdoor wants to change) is the low-key anonymity it provides. It’s a place to live, not a social club.

  23. I find Nextdoor to be divisive and a platform for too close for comfort cyber bullying. I regret that it ever came to my neighborhood.

Comments are closed.

54 thoughts on “Nextdoor: Where Privacy Is a Double-Edged Sword

  1. And that is EXACTLY the biggest problem with Nextdoor. So many neighborhood issues are larger than the microhood. Silo’ing is a VERY bad thing for anything more than coffee klatsches and end-of-the-street pickup games. Our site is, after five years of community collaboration, read by local government officials who pay attention to problems and respond, among other benefits of having one community come together in one place. Issues that affect one microhood in our neighborhood affect most others. Even if you post a lost pet or a stolen car – it’s just as likely to be found five miles away on the other side of the peninsula as on the block, but if you’re just posting it behind a wall to the people close by, it might never be found.

    Our commenters even helped police catch a killer who was seen climbing out of a ravine hours later, and found three neighborhoods away. If the original spotter had just posted on his microsite “Saw a suspicious dude climbing out of the ravine,” the murder would likely remain unsolved.

    Oh, and as a bonus, we found out that a member of a local Nextdoor microsite was ripping off our reporting on a recent incident. Link to us? Great. Paraphrase? Fine. Steal copyrighted news reporting without attribution? I wouldn’t have known, since it’s not indexed, if not for a tipster.

    Tear down the walls. Unify neighborhoods, don’t break them down into siloettes. And as for impending ND advertising (mentioned in a Sacramento event this week)? They’re not getting $40 million for diving into SMB advertising. Like Patch, if they get anything, it’ll be Pepsi, coast to coast. Any corporate foray into neighborhood news/information is a bad one. If you want a neighborhood microsite, set up a real “blog.” Which among other things, will NOT limit you to one image. – Tracy

  2. I see a use for both.

    We have discussions in our neighborhood that we, certainly I, wouldn’t have written had it been something completely public.

    Like my Facebook page, many thoughts I want to share only with a select group of people.

    1. Facebook has three levels of communication: 1) among Friends (limited to them), 2) one on one with a specific Friend and 3) public (among all Facebook users and beyond). Nextdoor has only two levels of communication, both private: 1) among members of the neighborhood (and one or more designated adjacent neighborhoods) and 2) one on one between specific neighbors. What it needs is a third — public — level of communication, where content, including posts, can be shared beyond the neighborhood. For public communication, neighborhood members could still choose to keep all their personal information — except their name on a posting — private, as they now do.

      1. Tom,

        I fully agree. It’s a super easy fix, and potentially a category killer: Just add a “post publicly” function.

  3. I belong to a NextDoor due to my job and if it wasn’t beneficial to my job I would never go back. I have nicknamed ours “The Crime Blog,” because that’s all any of the residents want to discuss.

    There’s a lot of hand wringing, fear mongering and racial profiling. “OMG, has anyone seen the Asian girl walking, texting on her phone? It was 9:30 at night and she seemed suspicious.” “Alert! Two black guys walked past my house and they didn’t seem nice at all. I think they’re up to no good!” “I called the cops on two women going door to door. Turns out they were handing out religious literature, but I’m glad I called anyway.”

    Ugh.

    1. I dare say that if the site is beneficial to your job, and yet you loathe all other aspects of the site, then spend the money for straightforward advertising.

  4. I quit NextDoor last night. A landlady was having a grievance with a tenant, and posted a thread that this person is a terrible tenant–and don’t ever rent to him! She named him by name, said where he worked, (which turns out, she got wrong), and we told her to take it down. It was not just unethical, it was possibly libelous. I felt so sorry for this poor tenant publicly humiliated. Well, it was a back and forth exchange with her, then someone else chimed in and said “Enough already!–use private messaging, because apparently he/she didn’t want to “wade through” all the comments. I told them that they don’t have to read the thread. And I felt it was an important discussion to keep public, since this woman was publicly libeling this poor tenant. And that I was really disheartened by how close-minded he/she was being, trying to censor this conversation. Well, he flagged me. So I got flagged for THAT, but the original libelous landlady didn’t? I guess people only want to talk about garage sales, not important issues. Another landlord saw her post and agreed with me, and he resigned as well. This woman should have been moderated.

    1. The one for our community lets fake people on there the Leads run the show and they are the worst people in our community!!!

    2. They disabled my year old account where I founded my neighborhood and brought in 50 members because “a neighbor” complained that my name sounded fake. Apparently, “Momo” is not a legitimate name? So insulting. Eff them.

    3. So, you knew that what the landlady was doing was libelous, and complained about it – but did not report it to authorities? – but when someone advised using private messaging, you went the route of “this is a public forum.” And, “no one is forcing you” to use it. Public forum is not public license to say anything you want. This is why there should be no social media.

        1. Geez venez, maybe some people just found this site. Nextdoor is a huge problem and every site that gives the truth of how it is negative is well worth it

          1. 8Pi–First of all, I did not know the landlady or her name because she posted anonymously, so I could not report her. Second of all, the person who advised me to use private messaging did so because they didn’t like the discussion, not because I and other members we were breaking any rules. If they didn’t like it, they didn’t have to read it. It seems like a lot of people here don’t really understand social media and what it’s for. A public internet forum IS a license to say whatever you want, unless you are breaking the forum’s rules, which I wasn’t. And I have deleted the post because I keep getting notifications to reply on something I wrote two years ago, which is ludicrous.

          2. True. But I deleted the post because I keep getting notifications that people were responding to something I wrote two years ago, and I barely even remember what it was about, at this point! Kind of silly.

          3. True, Ronald. But I keep getting notifications that someone is replying to a post I wrote two years ago, and I open it out of curiosity, and it’s this poster 8Pi yelling at me who didn’t understand the original issue and is probably a troll. Do I need this kind of negativity in my life? I deleted the OP. There is a lot of stupid on this site.

  5. The one for Riverstone in Alamo Ranch has horrible Leads they even allow fake
    people on there they don’t care they want numbers not residents. They even allowed a sex offender on there!!! Anybody want to get on nextdoor just use someone else’s address and anybody can get on there. All this was reported and shown to nextdoor and nextdoor didn’t care!!! Nextdoor doesn’t care about “SAFETY” that’s a joke!!! If you DARE use nextdoor you were warned, Watch out not a safe site at all !!!

  6. NEXTDOOR corporate has one official set of rules. However, the leads in each Neighborhood are given carte blanche to craft their own rules. Our actual “bricks & mortar” neighborhood is a remarkable living neighborhood of human homeowners. After too many solicitations from businesses, realtors, and the like from outside the boundaries of our real world neighborhood–
    and way too many angst ridden & derogatory posts from “virtual neighbors”– I finally quit the bogus online world of NEXTDOOR.

  7. Unfortunately Nextdoor is just like any other business in that you have to have the right people in the right positions. Our community uses volunteers and has committees set up with members from each section to ensure the community it properly represented. The board of directors approves budgets and enforces deed restrictions.
    In our community, we use Nextdoor to keep an open communication with neighbors about events, issues and crime that affects our community. It is moderated by a small group of people with a head lead. The leads bring any issues they can not handle to the head lead and the head lead brings any issues that the board needs to address to the board.
    If there are issues that need to be addressed but are not within the purview of the board, then the head lead gathers the appropriate information and brings the issue to the right party.
    The system is not perfect but it allows us to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect and that there is no personal attacks, campaigning or mass advertising. Each member that needs verification is verified according to their address as listed by google maps.
    If you use Nextdoor as a tool and ensure that the rules are followed and applied to everyone equally then the system works.
    In many cases about Nextdoor not working or the many issues that come up, it is more a concern of the people moderating the community incorrectly. If you are unhappy with your community, go to a board meeting and voice your concern, join the board and make changes, get involved but don’t point out the short comings of a few individuals as an overall problem of Nextdoor. In that scenario we should be mad at the Post Office for the 20% off Bed Bath and Coupons we get every week. We should be mad at the political party for a candidate sending out a campaign flyer.

    1. Since when does an HOA use NEXTDOOR? Our board is so antiquated that half of them don’t know how to use a computer. When we served a couple years ago and suggested using social media you should have seen the cold shoulders on that idea!

  8. I discovered 3 days ago that the NextDoor site is sitting on top of a software “PLATFORM” run by a company Maponics (who is repackaging and reselling every bit of this information to Facebook, Google, etc.) READ THE PRIVACY POLICY ON NEXTDOOR. NEXTDOOR ADDS THE FOLLOWING TO THE USER EXPERIENCE: SERVER LOGS to collect data, WEB BEACONS attached to their website and emails to track your usage. They currently own NON-PUBLIC INFORMATION ABOUT EVERYONE APPARENTLY, ACCORDING TO THEIR PRIVACY POLICY. If you use Facebook Connect, these two services can and will cross-populate platforms given a chance to do so. SEE THE NEXTDOOR PRIVACY POLICY, PAGE 2, LAST PARAGRAPH: re: Facebook Connect.

    HOW DOES A COMPANY BRAND GO FROM NOTHING TO INTERNATIONAL in 3 YEARS??? If NextDoor was a startup, they would have to build infrastructure, test for stability on multiple browsers, build up security, create marketing plans and sales plans, and hire and sell. 3 YEARS TO INTERNATIONAL BRANDING…SEEMS VERY UNREALISTIC, EVEN WITH TONS OF MONEY AT ONE’S FINGERTIPS. BEWARE…NEXTDOOR IS NOT WHAT THEY SEEM.

    REAL ESTATE AGENTS ARE BEING RECRUITED TO BECOME “LEADS” IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOODS. THEY ARE ALSO TASKED WITH REPORTING BACK ON YOU, LOOK AT THE POLICIES: one such quote from the policy for verifying you live where you live:
    “In addition, neighborhood Leads can see unverified neighbors and their addresses and manually verify them. To further help with neighbor verification, Leads may also be able to see all neighbors’ addresses, regardless of their display settings. We may inform Leads who has joined the neighborhood.

    ANOTHER POLICY DISCLAIMER IF YOU MOVE:
    “We may notify the neighborhood Leads of your departure from the neighborhood and give you an opportunity to explain it to the Leads.”

    WOW, BLOCK NANNIES FOR ALL!!! I contacted a local real estate (Moss Beach, CA) agent name Trish McCoy regarding her setting up the Nextdoor website (she states she is the Lead and she set it up). When asked about the privacy policy set up by Nextdoor, she claimed she never read it, told me that the quotes I have printed here and from their privacy policy was NOT TRUE AND THEN SHE RESORTED TO IMMEDIATE NAME CALLING KNOWN AS CHARACTER ASSASSINATION FOR SIMPLY ASKING HER IF SHE HAD READ THE POLICIES AND UNDERSTOOD THE PLATFORM PART WHERE THE DATA WAS BEING MINED AND PACKAGED FOR SELL. She was upset for my asking her about Maponics and their policies and MS. MCCOY STATED SHE DID NOT CARE IF THEY WERE SELLING EVERYONE’S INFORMATION. She told me that she refused to view the privacy policy, so we ended the conversation.

    The professional backgrounds of the individuals at MAPONICS ARE VERY INTERESTING. It appears that they report their information back to EVERY CORPORATION UNDER THE SUN, and specialize in GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE (see TIMM.PDF). There are over FORTY THOUSAND SITES UNDER THIS NEXTDOOR BRAND if you read the Maponics information, ALONG WITH OWNERSHIP IN MARKETS ACROSS THE GLOBE: They are integrated into Real Estate, medical, academics, emergency services, and probably many more not found, yet.

  9. Note: If you are non-member, the Nextdoor Privacy policy states that they can collect information on NON-MEMBERS and they MUST CONTACT NEXTDOOR TO HAVE THEIR NON-PUBLIC INFORMATION DELETED. TRY TO CONTACT THEM AND SEE WHAT SORT OF RESPONSE YOU GET???

  10. Nextdoor removed me for not allowing them to my full name by the way i was using my real name i just didnt want my last name spelled out fully due to identity theft and heres the end result…

    Thanks for contacting us about
    this issue. Both our Member Agreement and our Neighborhood Guidelines
    require that members use their real name on the site, and not an alias
    or abbreviation. You can read those policies here:

    Neighborhood Guidelines

    Member Agreement

    When a member reports that
    another member may not be using their real name, our Support team
    follows up on each report in accordance with these policies.

    While I can certainly
    understand your concern for privacy, at this time, we don’t allow
    members to abbreviate their last name for any reason. I’ve gone ahead
    and disabled your account for now. If you will consent to using your
    real name on the site, we will correct the name on your profile and
    reactivate your account. If don’t wish to use your real name on the
    site, let us know, and we can remove your account from Nextdoor.

    Best,

    Corina Waggoner

    Nextdoor Neighborhood Operations

    1. The same suspension of account occurred to us as well after we tried to complain about an actionable breach of state law which Nextdoor and its LEADS had allowed to go unchecked for weeks. Instead of dealing with the far more serious legal issue outlined in our complaint, Nextdoor suspended our account claiming I failed to use my “real name”. Read on for the rest of story.

      Quote: “ Hi Neighbor,

      I’m reaching out to let you know that the
      name you entered for your Nextdoor account, has been flagged by our system for
      not being your real name.

      Since we require our
      members to use their real names, I’ve temporarily disabled your account. I
      can reactivate it as soon as you let me know your real name. I will need proof
      of your real name and address in order to reactivate your account.

      One of the goals of Nextdoor is to create a
      safe, trusted environment where real life neighbors can connect with one
      another in a meaningful way. We believe that using your real name and identity builds
      trust and accountability and leads to more useful information sharing.

      I look forward to hearing from you soon.

      Best regards,

      Nina

      nextdoor.com

      The irony is that I have always used my REAL NAME but according to Nextdoor it didn’t match the name given to them by their LEADS. When I
      contacted the ‘LEADS” for our site, I discovered that one of the LEADS had listed her name as being the business sheowns! This “not real name” error has existed for over two years without being corrected by the Nextdoor Policy Police.
      Nextdoor has yet to apologize for their MULTI-YEAR failure of oversight of their LEAD’S behaviors.
      Nextdoor must apply their rules to THEMSELVES first. Nextdoor’s
      policy of empowering total strangers to become LEADS with unique authority to monitor the site they set up is fraught with problems. The integrity of any Nextdoor micro-site isby definition no better than the LEADS themselves.
      IMO, Nextdoor’s market integrity is a sham.
      In our case, Nextdoor’s clear failure to proactively monitor any individual website left the door open for libelous language to be posted without any oversight or editing from anyone. The LEADS simply aren’t forced to monitor the sight they set up, nor do they receive special training Nextdoor’s nebulous and ambiguous policies.
      When our complaint was ignored by the LEADS, contacting Nextdoor itself became a nightmare of finger pointing and abdication of their own demanded rules.
      Worse yet, the outcome of any action taken by
      Nextdoor in response to any complaint is a “state secret” according to
      Nextdoor.

      Quote: “While I cannot share the details when
      we interact with other members, I am working on this issue and will take
      appropriate action, if necessary.”
      Best regards,
      Nina
      nextdoor.com

      Considering that our account is blocked, we
      can’t even monitor what changes MIGHT be affected by the Nextdoor Policy Police.
      The bottom line is that
      Nextdoor is simply one more “data mining hope we can sell the information to
      advertisers” internet nannycam which should be avoided at all costs.
      We will never use Nextdoor again for any reason.

      1. I am a lead and founder but leads don’t really have any power on that site. It’s basically just a name you get. You can’t like, kick people out or anything. Leads are pretty powerless. Also I was on for over a year and brought in 50 members and they just disabled my account because they said “a neighbor” told them my name sounded fake. I’m not allowed to use my name, Momo, because it sounds fake. So what do I do, make up a fake name that sounds more real? It’s also insulting to have some neighbor decide my name doesn’t sound legit (we are a diverse nation, how can you dictate what a person’s name should look/sound like?) Also the NextDoor rules as quoted to me says you use your real name OR the name which you introduce yourself to people as and people know you as in the community. So they broke their own rules by disabling my account by not respecting that I AM known by everyone as Momo in my community. But hey, they think it’s not a real name. So eff all the Japanese and Indian folks who are named Momo, right? They need a more American sounding name???? Racist.

        1. I just got kicked out too for he same reasons. I listed my name by which I am known in my community and since I’m international, the customer service rep (Garrett Gonzales – senior most rep apparently) once asked me for credit card statements as proof and then another time asked me for passport for proof. How can such personal information be required? I also asked him to share written proof of the process so I know I am not being discriminated against and his reply is more of an ultimatum- I either comply or get kicked out. Don’t I have the right to know what the process is and what privacy measures/ criteria Nextdoor has so my information is not being sold or worse I’m not a victim of identity theft?
          My ask is pretty reasonable. I also got kicked out because a lead reported me. Clearly racism and reverse racism issues along with public bashing of neighbors is far less important than my name. So much for innocent until proven guilty–I got kicked out without even basic request for information.

          Seriously, NextDoor????
          S

          1. The same thing just happened to me with Nextdoor. For background, I live in a mostly white neighborhood in Old Oakland and there is a lot of ignorant and blatantly racist profiling, etc. happening on Nextdoor. Myself and a few others have attempted to address this by politely and intelligently speaking up about these issues. There is one neighbor in a bordering neighborhood who has taken to flagging all of our posts and accusing us of having fake names to get us to go away- please keep in mind, no one is writing anything provocative. We’re basically suggesting that writing a Crime&Safety post to not write “Black teen with no shirt on acting suspicious”. Anyway, this was met with a lot of protest and harassment, in particular from one neighbor who can’t stand that anyone is disagreeing with him. Fast forward to my account being deleted. When I asked “why”, the Neighborhood Operations Director, Gordon, emailed to tell me that my name sounds fake. I am Asian. I have an Asian last name. Another neighbor who was also deactivated, has a non-American sounding name. So, because my name is not “Mary Smith”, I have to fax Nextdoor my ID and share my LinkedIn *and* give Nextdoor permission to contact my employer! Essentially, Nextdoor is racially profiling it’s own members in addition to fostering a community of racial profiling and bigotry. If you are foreign and your ignorant neighbor thinks your last name is “too Asian”, you have to share personal and sensitive data with Nextdoor. I have emailed the Ops Director about 5 times asking for the written process in addition to a link to where that process is on the website/app. It cannot be legal to not require ALL members to jump through the same hoops as non-American name members. Also, my account was removed without any warning or notification. I had to go looking for an answer. And the answer I got was that my birth name “sounds too fake” and I have to send my personal information in to prove it is not fake. This isn’t right, like not legal right. I mentioned the same thing as you, that there are neighbors blatantly making racist comments and harassing other neighbors, yet I am getting kicked off because of my Asian name. No response. Nothing. No process was emailed to me. This same neighbor who harassed us online apparently damaged property of the neighbor he got kicked off before me, since addresses are public. Today, the day I was deactivated and the day I saw that this insane man had flagged all of my posts, a very large and extremely heavy potted tree in front of my door was knocked to the ground. Not only will I not share any personal information with Nextdoor in the form of ID, etc., but I am happy to no longer be on that awful app. It is dangerous to share your information, address, etc. The sign up process fools their target demographic (older not so computer savvy people), because it makes them think that by entering their phone number, CC, address, that they are being “verified” somehow. That is not the case. I signed up with my mobile number that has an out of state area code *and* I had not yet changed my mailing address on the account to my current address. My mobile number was in no way associated with my address used to open my Nextdoor account. They are just collecting as much user data and information as possible to sell and use to get more investor money. I have asked multiple times “how is my data being used” and gotten no answer. Let the racist idiots fear monger and sell dirty old sofas on Nextdoor and spread hatred as their data is collected and sold. Good riddance. I am contacting a couple of writers for a local paper to inform them of this name profiling that seems to be happening to many of us with non-American names. Nextdoor makes up rules as it goes along that benefit some and harm others.

          2. I hope everyone has reported these NextDoor activities to the state and federal offices of the Attorney and Inspector General and all other applicable consumer protection agencies.

        2. I founded my neighborhood. It was stated to everyone that joined that it was to basically vent and verbalize without abuse the corruption of our HOA. One member I had kicked off because she told others about where I and a couple other work and gave out other personal information. 6 months later not only was she allowed back on the site, but they removed me as a Lead and made her a lead. Bullshit site. Our neighborhood was at a high of 103 members and through door to door efforts, we have brought the membership down to 17 as of today. People started to see the site is not safe.

      2. Anyone using “reach out,” “reaching out,” etc., should be prohibited from speaking and writing. Do report Nexdoor to the appropriate agencies.

  11. To ALL neighbours: If , you want to try something else which is more safe & secure than Nextdoor do try Zipublik app currently on android only!

  12. Actually whenever we are going to book for rental we should make sure about the privacy and security then after its all the responsibility of a landlord to do a tenant screening that will help him/her for getting a better tenant for sure.

  13. The admins are not carefully selected, skillfully qualified, individuals. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can become one. Keep that in mind when you find yourself in conflict with a neighbor(s) that ‘knows where you live’. No matter how nice, we don’t always getalong with everyone, we are humans.

  14. I haven’t really used NextDoor, even though, as I have recently learned, our neighborhood participates in it.
    My problem is with the unnecessarily invasive (atrocious!) permissions the Android app requires. It looks like the company wants to collect more information about me than really necessary for the purpose of “NextDoor neighborhood bulletin board”.
    Among others, it wants to:
    find accounts on the device
    read your own contact card
    read your contacts
    find accounts on the device
    (It doesn’t look like that is because it creates its own account, as it doesn’t request “add or remove accounts”)
    read your own contact card
    read phone status and identity
    read call log
    read your text messages (SMS or MMS)
    approximate location (network-based)
    precise location (GPS and network-based)

    All those are clearly invasive and unnecessary for the functionality that is essential to the “neighborhood bulletin board”.

    And even this one probably is not really needed:
    view Wi-Fi connections

    I may understand why they required this:
    read calendar events plus confidential information
    add or modify calendar events and send email to guests without owners’ knowledge
    (it may offer to add some events to your calendar), but I am not overly thrilled about it snooping in my personal calendar, and I’d rather skip that capability.

    As for the location-related permission, the Privacy policy clearly says:
    “Currently, we use your location information to display your location to you on your neighborhood map. In the future, we may use your location information to allow you to tag your posts, photos and events, and display activities and content that may be relevant to your current location.”
    https://nextdoor.com/privacy_policy/
    Excuse me! Why do I need the app to tell me where I am? And I don’t want my location to be used for any tagging or whatsoever. That is not just a privacy, but also a SAFETY issue. But they want to know your behavior. And they want to know who your friends are. And they even try to ask for your credit card number as a way of verification. Do they also want your PIN number for that card?

    Besides, this information is not limited just to NextDoor’s internal use. The same privacy policy says:
    “Some of Nextdoor’s functionality may be operated by third party service providers, and in the course of providing this functionality, these service providers may have access to some of your personal data to facilitate your usage of this service.”

    And, of course, “Data Retention. Subject to any legal obligations to delete data, we may choose to retain information in our server logs, our databases and our records indefinitely.”

    NextDoor (and the unknown 3rd party providers) can misuse your information. But also, – in case of a break-in into their “secure servers”, think how much information about your gets exposed right away, and how easy it would be for a perpetrator to impersonate you. (You’ve heard about CIA chief’s e-mail account hack. Right?)

    Think, is it really worth it for you? For me, the answer is “NO”.

    I might try to look at the website version, but no mobile app.

    1. I did as well, under my real name. I created a fake account and the leads still haven’t figured it out yet.

  15. I too left NextDoor recently because they didn’t like me not using a real name. That’s right, I didn’t. I wanted to participate in discussing neighborhood related issues that often have a tendency to turn political and my world view is very different from the neighborhood norm. My real name is unique; I’m the only person with such a name probably in the whole city which makes finding where exactly I live a 30 sec online search. I just didn’t want to endanger my family to sickos who tend to take disagreements way too personally. Historically, that’s why many a writer has used a nom de plume in a public settings.

  16. as a lead you can close discussions, you can use your spouses log in, we had that happened. our HOA may dissolve because 10 HO’s don’t like the rules they signed off on?? the writer of this story was paid by Nextdoor to vouch for the site. you can mute another homeowner. you want see their racist post any more. if Fb and Twitter had a baby it would be Nextdoor. got off the site after being threatened daily just because I served on our HOA board. social media is the last thing a HOA board should deal with. it might be fine now but just might till a pissy neighbor shows up on your doorway at 10pm!! THIS IS A WARNING STAY AWAY FROM NEXTDOOR!!

  17. I am one of the more active members in our neighborhood along with a handful of great neighbors who care about the neighborhood. I just read a comment here that said Nextdoor seems great, until it isn’t. Unfortunately, I am beginning to agree.
    Things that are starting to make me want to delete my membership are becoming the norm. We have a lot of random unnecessary comments on otherwise important posts. The sheep that hide behind the likes on those comments but never contribute otherwise are a waste of my time. There is a lead in our neighborhood who is a joke. He ignores emails, cusses on comments, is very obnoxious, contributes to harassment and ignores flags. People have tried to get him removed as a lead. Nextdoor has named specifically what it would take for it to happen. He has done all of said things yet they won’t do it. So, why would anyone stay past what seems to be under the one year mark? Don’t let me get started on the antiquated user experience. If I can’t edit my comment easily, you’re just going to piss me off. Also, employees should be leads. I don’t see this company lasting much longer. Out of approx. 75 reviews, I’ve seen maybe three positive ones.

  18. They banned me for suggesting that pandering to the beggars in my hometown only invites many more as in Pleasanton CA there is a HUGE increase in the numbers of such people. And crime there is on the rise. And since I suggested there are a LOT of outlets for those people to get help, shelter and money and free food, etc, I suggested the begging only serves to get them alcohol or drugs. For that, Nextdoor banned me today. So screw them.

  19. If you live in a very liberal region such as the Bay Area, if you suggest anything that suggests something that liberal hate, you will be banned. Crappy service, no use using them anymore, they should re-name themselves Liberal Locals

  20. Nextdoor doesn’t solve the problems of unruly neighbors and maverick forum admins. Their uncreative solution is strict rules (which they can bend or ignore at will) and handing out punishment instead of anything resembling a self-moderating meritocracy as I had once hoped. The “real names” policy is clearly just so that they have better accuracy in building profiles and connections to sell to marketing and law enforcement customers. The neighbors are the product, you realize. It would be better for your neighborhood to just use a free blog or forum offered by hundreds of different online providers.

    You’ll read many complaints about Nextdoor staff being obstinate and unreasonable, but our experience with this will raise your hair on edge. Our forum was an alternate to the one our HOA runs and ruthlessly censors. Nextdoor knew this, and promised to protect us (HOA figures had joined and were making the atmosphere antagonistic). Nextdoor allowed us to grow and thrive, and then took Lead powers (weak as they are, it’s true) away from us, and handed it directly to the chap (and wife) who does most of the censoring in the old HOA forum! Nextdoor, you see, is quite willing to micromanage, take on personal vendettas, and interfere in the culture of an individual neighborhood. Freewill is a threat to them.

    See our horrible story here: tinyurl.com/dawsonseized

    Imagine Facebook taking your popular “Healthy Cooking” page away from you, along with every post you made, picture you took, every like, every follow, and handing it to McDonald’s because “we think it’s best – we’re sure you’ll love your new leader – ta ta now!”.

    Nextdoor is doing far more damage to neighborhoods than good. And damn little good at all. The corporates running (and micromanaging) the site operate like Nazis! Nextdoor is not committed to the American way of life, free speech, or democracy in any way.

  21. Why would anyone even join. Even where I live, homes are only a few yards away. If you cannot speak to people, then social media contact is not the answer. I received an invitation via USPS mail today. Why would I, or anyone else, feed the people who begin such absurd websites. Why would the person who never interacts with anyone in the neighborhood, (which is true of 99% of this neighborhood), do this? Is it the $25 Amazon gift card reward? Or, that it looks like this person writes for newspapers, so he’s figuring on getting some hot inside information that he can exploit?

  22. I don’t do social media. No offense intended toward those who love it, but I’d rather not live my life on a computer. For that reason, it did not occur to me that Nextdoor is exactly that. It has a few legitimate uses, but mainly it’s a big, virtual garage sale full of overpriced junk, as well as cleverly disguised commercial advertising. It also encourages mooching; i.e. people wanting to borrow this, that, or the other. Seriously? You’re so strapped that you can’t afford to buy or rent a garden hose, a ladder? Or am I the only one who doesn’t loan out my belongings to people I don’t even know? One of the things I’ve always liked about my neighborhood (that Nextdoor wants to change) is the low-key anonymity it provides. It’s a place to live, not a social club.

  23. I find Nextdoor to be divisive and a platform for too close for comfort cyber bullying. I regret that it ever came to my neighborhood.

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