If you’re a Nextdoor member, you may notice new anti-racism notifications if you go to publish something that could be taken the wrong way.
Think twice about posting certain messages on Nextdoor. If you’re not careful you may receive one of the service’s new anti-racism notifications.
They designed them in an effort to prevent problems before they begin.
But I’m sure that some people who might otherwise offend others will be the ones taking offense.
The San Francisco-based company bills itself as “a hyperlocal social networking service for neighborhoods.” Imagine Facebook subdivided by subdivisions.
It allows its users, based on their home address, to hear about announcements affecting their neighborhood. They can even recommend businesses and services, post items for sale or announce events to their neighbors.
But like all social media platforms, there’s always a fight just waiting to happen.
Enter the new anti-racism notifications!
The service recently introduced three new notifications that users see when they are about to post something that could be perceived as racist. It explained the decision in a recent blog post.
Two of them involve slogans I’m sure you’ve heard.
The first is “All lives matter.” People usually spout that phrase when they hear others use a phrase to which they object: “Black lives matter.”
The Black Lives Matter movement raised a large degree of awareness to institutional racism. Even if you don’t agree with a lot of what the movement stands for, you surely know what the name means.
In fact, I’m convinced that at this distance, anyone who honestly thinks “all lives matter” is an appropriate response to “black lives matter” is simply choosing willful ignorance.
The second is “Blue lives matter.” People use that phrase to support the men and women of law enforcement. But some who support the Black Lives Matter movement see that as a direct slight.
Personally, I think it’s possible to support both. I do support the Blue…but I think Black lives matter.
And I don’t support members of the Blue who do some of the things we’ve seen in headlines and all-too-shocking body cam incidents.
The third notification appears to be more generic in nature. It warns of a possibly “hurtful” word or phrase. it suggests the poster should rethink the post.
Here’s what the notifications say…and what they don’t.
The blog post states the anti-racism notifications detects certain phrases “and prompts the author to consider editing their post or comment before it goes live.”
Some people will surely at this point cry “censorship” and suppression of their First Amendment rights.
They’d be wrong on both counts. As for the latter, the First Amendment doesn’t give you the right to say anything on a privately-owned website. As for the former, the post even makes that clear:
“The anti-racism notification does not prevent a neighbor from publishing,” the post states. It then goes on to explain that it does make a poster aware of language that could violate the site’s Terms of Service.
The post then adds these interesting points:
All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter content is  explicitly prohibited  on Nextdoor when used to undermine racial equality or the Black Lives Matter movement. Support for White Lives Matter is prohibited on Nextdoor, as it is most commonly associated with  white supremacist groups.
I think this is a great idea.
I do wish that our brains would come equipped with internal notifications like these. But until we’re smart enough to not be hateful, maybe this kind of reminder will cover our own internal shortcomings.