Nextdoor, the Social Media Platform for Neighbors, Makes Changes to Reduce Racial Profiling

How Nextdoor responded to racial profiling on its platform should serve as an example to other forms of social media.
August 29, 2016, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Kashmir Hill follows up on the changes made at Nextdoor, a social network for neighbors, since a March 2015 exposé revealed the tendency of the network's users toward racial profiling. According to Hill, Nextdoor has rolled out changes to the platform that have reduced racial profiling by 75 percent in test markets.

On Thursday, Nextdoor rolled out these changes to all 110,000 neighborhoods on its platform. All users who make posts to their neighborhood’s “Crime and Safety” forum are now asked for additional information if their post mentions race. Nextdoor says that the new forms it’s introducing have “reduced posts containing racial profiling by 75% in our test markets.”

The article goes into more detail about the changes, which rolled out to test markets in April. The changes were inspired by "the work of Stanford psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt," explains Hill,  "who studies the way race can influence the judicial system and has helped trained police officers to recognize and overcome their bias."

Hill calls on Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia to explain the thinking behind the new questions added to the Nextdoor "crime and safety reports."

“We tried to create decision points,” said Tolia. “To get people to stop and think as they’re observing people to cut down on implicit bias.”

For more on the changes to the Nextdoor platform, Caroline O'Donovan also reported on the changes earlier this month.

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Published on Thursday, August 25, 2016 in Fusion
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