Social Platform Nextdoor Cancels Feature Allowing Users to Forward Suspicions to Police

New York Police Officer keeps an eye on tourist as he stands guard at Times Square on July 4, 2015 in New York City. Security was heightened with more than 7.000 NYPD officers at landmark places and crowded streets after that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of …
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The neighborhood social networking app Nextdoor is removing a feature that allows users to forward suspicions to local police departments as part of the company’s “anti-racism work.” The move arrives in the wake of complaints that the app’s feature enables racial profiling.

“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,” read a statement from the company last week, announcing that it would be removing its “Forward to Police” tool.

The statement went on to insist that not enough law enforcement agencies choose to use the feature anyway, suggesting that the tool will not be missed, as “it is clear that the Forward to Police feature does not meet the needs of our members.”

The statement also acknowledges that “public agencies, including mayors, governors, fire departments, police departments, and health departments, turn to Nextdoor every day to directly share critical, real-time information with people in the neighborhood.”

“Nextdoor is committed to providing tools that enable neighbors and public agencies to communicate effectively,” the statement added. “We will continue to work closely with our public agency partners from around the world to empower neighbors to stay informed and build stronger communities.”

The move to ban the tool arrives on the heels of criticism over its alleged facilitation of “racial profiling,” as well as the company’s “cozy” partnership with law enforcement, and over reports that some of its moderators have been removing posts that mention the organization Black Lives Matter, according to a report by City Lab Bloomberg.

The report added that the company is nonetheless retaining other features on its app that allow for communication with local police departments, such as one that allows users to direct message law enforcement.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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