Nextdoor’s neighbors are not friendly to strangers


When next door is a social network where neighbors share local news and follow, Listed It will be listed on the Nasdaq at a valuation of US$4.3 billion under the ticker symbol KIND. This week’s announcement is part of Nextdoor’s efforts to get rid of its reputation for allowing some users to act in the opposite way.

its mission Now it’s “Cultivate a friendlier world, where everyone has a community they can rely on”, since 2019 caveat Its users will not be quarrelsome and irritable because of the “goodwill reminders” generated by artificial intelligence. If they draft something annoying, these reminders will pop up.In April of this year, it added Anti-racism notice After the outbreak of the “Black people’s fate” movement in the United States.

But “kindness” has a double meaning: friendly and helpful, and a group of people who are similar to each other.The Old English word “cynd” is definition In a dictionary it is called “a class or race with innate characteristics”-a nobleman who should have been noble. For Nextdoor and its emerging competitor, Facebook Neighborhoods, this is the problem.

Nextdoor faces problems with all social media platforms. They connect people with huge networks, release information streams, provide entertainment and encourage companionship, but they can highlight the cruel side of human nature.

People unite to attack others, especially strangers and those fired by them, usually based on rough evidence as opponents or enemies.Since Facebook roll out At Harvard University in 2004, a digital innovation aimed at promoting friendship ignited warring tribes.

Most neighbors have a strong motivation to get along. Homogeneity, or Aristotle’s principle of “people love people who are similar to themselves,” is encouraged by living nearby.as a Learn Said, “Geography is the physical basis for establishing homogeneity.”

This is very effective for Nextdoor, where a lot of discussion is about the lost cat, or who knows a good electrician. My experience of using WhatsApp groups on our streets, the technology is used in many micro-communities, very positive, and sometimes refreshing.

Many groups, whether on Nextdoor, Facebook, or messaging apps, formed their own teams during the pandemic blockade. People just vaguely knew their neighbors’ streets were alive with mutual help proposals.

Prakash Janakiraman Co-founder The author of Nextdoor believes that this network is different from other networks in that it is built around “practicality rather than affinity.” You don’t need to want to share information with your neighbors like your neighbors — if the letter goes astray or you need a parking permit, it’s useful to know other people. The things in everyday life create most of its value.

Local quarrels may spread to Nextdoor. “The law allows me to sunbathe naked in the yard. Please don’t call the police!” read The highlighted post on the “Best of Nextdoor” Twitter account. But, just like in a western movie, when a stranger rides into the city, there will be a deeper level of tension.

Despite its emphasis on utility, neighbors share benefits and identification, especially when threatened. Stolen cars, breaking in and door-to-door fraud are the main points of discussion for the Nextdoor team in my area. This is natural for self-protection, but it arouses strong feelings.

This danger is obvious in the United States, where white users have posted material about seeing black people around, and caveat Assumed crime risk.The country’s history of apartheid does not help-a guest post by Nextdoor Quote The 1949 contract on the Los Angeles residence prohibits occupation by “anyone who is not white or Caucasian”.

This is more serious after the police murder George Freud Last year, the local Nextdoor moderator deleted posts supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and opposed political intrusion into the forum.the company changed It’s policy and added an anti-racism notice.

It recruited more volunteer hosts, provided them with anti-racism training, and supervised the toughest internal topics.Its method is by Jennifer Eberhardt, Professor of Social Psychology at Stanford University, debate Asking people to slow down and think before reacting to anger or fear can help curb hostility.

But Nextdoor has only 60 million users and faces a tension between caution and growth.It faces new competition from Facebook, its 2.85 billion Monthly users and predatory instincts.Facebook is roll out Communities in some cities in the United States have similar designs and familiar commitments, that is, to “keep relevance and friendliness among neighbors.”

Artificial intelligence can soothe some anger-Nextdoor said its prompts, based on the phrases that have been flagged in scanning draft posts, have been cut back The racial profiling has been reduced by 75%. But if machines can solve the problem of aggression, Twitter will be a calmer place.

The future of Nextdoor depends on the meaning of a word. Will the neighbors be kind, or will they be triggered by their similar threats? Ambiguities dating back to the Middle Ages are not easy to resolve.

john.gapper@ft.com





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