Simple way to protect your privacy on social media sites

Everyone’s talking about Nextdoor. It’s the social networking site that brings back good old-fashioned neighborhood chatter between you and the nice people living across the street. It puts you in touch with folks down the block and even people a few miles down the road.

It’s reminiscent of simpler times, when neighbors actually spoke to each other. That was before we all disappeared behind our phones. Nextdoor is also like Facebook you can scan through your contacts’ posts and photos, and you can post your own messages and photos, but it limits communications to people who live physically close to you.

You might alert neighbors to prowlers spotted in the neighborhood, and they might recommend a good plumber or mechanic. They could also tell you about yard sales or appliances they’re giving away, or you can alert them to a stray dog you found.

It sounds great and, in many ways, it is. (Read our tips to navigate Nextdoor here.) However, Nextdoor has a dark side. Actually, it has a few dark sides you should know about.

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Online bullying rising on Nextdoor

When you’re using Nextdoor, it’s hard not to notice that it’s not as well-monitored as sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In fact, it’s not unheard of for Nextdoor bullies to take their harassment offline, too. That’s terrifying, considering many members post their street addresses on the site.

There have been reports of Nextdoor bullies calling other members and harassing them, and bullies have also contacted other members’ jobs to reveal embarrassing or hurtful information.

One Nextdoor bully even called a real estate agent’s manager and started harassing her with emails and phone calls. Why? She was another agent trying to damage her competition’s reputation.

That’s outrageous and frightening, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to panic. There are ways to keep your Nextdoor bullies away.

How to deal with bullies on Nextdoor

The first step to staying safe is really important: DO NOT put your street address on Nextdoor.

To ensure your street address isn’t visible to Nextdoor members, click on the down arrow by your profile picture >> Settings >> Privacy >> Show My Address to Neighbors As.

You’ll have two choices: You can show them your street address, including your house number, like “321 Main Street,” or you can just display which street you live on, like “Main Street.”

Second, make sure you alert your neighborhood’s Lead to another member’s harassment, but be careful. Do not rely on only your neighborhood Lead to solve your problem, especially if you’re being threatened. If you ever feel that you’re in danger, immediately contact your local police first, then report it to Nextdoor afterward.

How to Report a Safety Concern

From any page on Nextdoor, click the down arrow by your profile picture in the upper-right corner >> Help >> scroll down to Privacy and Safety on Nextdoor >> click on Contact Us (three-quarters down the page) >> choose the issue for “I have a question about,” and for “Relating to.”

your on Nextdoor

On a social networking site that asks you to post your real name and your home address, your privacy is an immediate concern. It’s important to note that Nextdoor, like many sites, reassures users it will not share or sell your private information to anyone; however, the amount of data they receive is staggering.

When you register with Nextdoor, you’re giving the site permission to access your information, which Nextdoor spells out clearly in its Privacy Policy:

“We collect information from you, when you give it to us directly or give us the OK to get it from another source. For example, when you register for Nextdoor, you voluntarily provide your name, profile photo, email address, and similar information.”

If you register for Nextdoor using your Facebook credentials, you’re giving Nextdoor permission to access that information too. Nextdoor can also track your physical location, since you give it access to your phone’s geolocation to “verify your address.”

Did you know Nextdoor collects information about the computer, smartphone and other devices you’re using to access the site? It’s right there in their policy, plus, when you invite people to join Nextdoor, you’re giving their email address or phone number to the site too. That’s how Nextdoor expands to new neighborhoods every day.

Fortunately, you have a few options when it comes to restricting Nextdoor’s access to your personal information. These include:

  1. Simply, don’t sign up in the first place.
  2. Manage your Personal Profile settings (click on the down arrow by your profile photo >> Your Profile).
  3. Delete your Nextdoor account from your computer (steps for iOS and Android vary slightly from these): Click on the down arrow by your profile picture >> Settings >> Account >> Deactivate Your Account >> tell Nextdoor why you’re leaving >> Deactivate.

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