Technology

Should Nextdoor censor discriminatory comments?

Community-minded social network inspires deeper conversations about divisive issues

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Lost cats, petty crimes and controversial developments. Those are the most common topics of discussion for residents of one Los Angeles community on Nextdoor, a social network for neighborhoods that was recently valued at $1.1 billion. The next most popular talking points for the L.A. neighborhood are a bit thornier: race and sexual orientation. Racial profiling is apparently a fairly common phenomenon on Nextdoor, and recent media reports have raised questions about whether the social network is doing enough to discourage discriminatory behavior in its neighborhood forums. "Rather than bridging gaps between neighbors, Nextdoor can become a forum for paranoid racialism," writes Fusion's Pendarvis Harshaw. But by facilitating discussions on discrimination, Nextdoor can also foster constructive dialogue that might actually chip away at stereotypes. Harshaw cited a case where one Nextdoor member posted a warning about a man in a "white hoodie" and "a thin, yo...