Nextdoor discontinues its Forward to Police program
Nextdoor, the app for Neighborhood social networking, says it has discontinued its Forward to Police feature which lets users send message board posts directly to local police.
The move comes as Nextdoor has been under increasing scrutiny over handling communications with law enforcement and handling racism of its members. However, the company plans to retain other features that allow communication with police via the app. These include the sending and receiving direct messages using the app.
In an email addressed to Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson, Nextdoor’s global public agency lead, said that the company would discontinue the feature officially.
The company said, “As part of our anti-racism work and our efforts to make Nextdoor a place where all neighbors feel welcome, we have been examining all aspects of our product. After discussing with members and public agency partners, it is clear that the Forward to Police feature does not meet the needs of our members and only a small percentage of law enforcement agencies chose to use the tool.”
Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar in a blog post said, “The company is taking steps to improve diversity. Racism has no place on Nextdoor.”
In a statement, Nextdoor said that it refurbish safety post flow to help educate members of the neighborhood over the bias and tell them to slow down and think before they post, This step by the company brought down the challenging posts by 75 percent. As per the company, “Today, less than 0.001 percent pots are related to racial profiling of all posts on the platform, and we have continued to make product and process changes to drive this down over time.”
Nextdoor has not given any details on how many departments were using the Forward to Police feature. However, reports suggest the many departments across the country were using the feature. Minneapolis, where the killing of George Floyd has sparked momentum for police reform was also using it.
Since the death of Floyd, global protests increased over systemic racism in late May, and many Technology companies that had collaborated with law enforcement had come under scrutiny over the issue.
Nextdoor’s Forward to Police feature was launched in 2016. It was designed with an aim to allow users on the platform to re-send posts they wrote to law enforcement agencies with official accounts on the platform. A per norms police officers can’t view private neighborhood groups; Forward helped the Police with a way to field complaints of the neighborhood directly, without monitoring all the posts.