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Our Work Against Racial Profiling

Written by Nirav Tolia

Last year, we became aware of a very difficult issue facing our neighborhoods: racial profiling.

We were incredibly saddened that the platform we built to bring communities together was being used by a small number of neighbors to unfairly stereotype individuals based on race.

We first became aware of these issues in the neighborhoods of Oakland, CA. We were fortunate to partner with community groups in Oakland and the city government itself to work on evolving our product in an effort to eliminate this kind of divisive behavior on Nextdoor.

Over the past year, we’ve made a lot of progress: through a series of product improvements, we have reduced racial profiling on Nextdoor by 75%. We aren’t done, but are encouraged by this significant milestone.

Today, Oakland’s Vice Mayor Annie Campbell Washington presented Nextdoor with a city proclamation in recognition of this work. We have also been named by the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area as this year’s recipient of the 29th Anniversary Community Service Award.

We feel honored and want to thank Vice Mayor Campbell Washington, Oakland city staff, and the 100 Black Men for their support and partnership on developing solutions that encourage our members to “stop and think before they post.”

Of course, we know there is more work to be done. We will continue to work with community groups and the City of Oakland, and also have retained the following national advisors to gain additional feedback and insight into this complex issue:

  • Debo Adegbile,the former leader of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and President Obama nominee as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at Department of Justice and Partner at WilmerHale
  • Grande Lum, former Director for the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Services and current Director of the Divided Community Project at Ohio State College of the Law

In the coming months, we are looking into ways to improve the following:

  • Urgent Alert messages
  • Crime and Safety posting process in our iOS and Android applications
  • Replies to posts

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-4-00-24-pmOn a more general basis, we’ve made other recent changes to ensure that the neighborhood conversations remain helpful and productive.

We just released a new set of Community Guidelines and moderation tools. The crux of our new Guidelines can be boiled down to one simple statement, “Everyone here is your neighbor. Please treat each other with respect.” The new tools, which are currently being tested in eight major metropolitan areas, are designed to help the community curb conflict and keep conversations civil.

Our mission at Nextdoor is to build stronger and safer neighborhoods, and racial profiling or discrimination of any kind is antithetical to this mission. We are taking this issue very seriously and we remain committed to addressing it.

We welcome your feedback as we continue this important work.

Nirav Tolia
Co-Founder and CEO
niravtolia@nextdoor.com

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