NextDoor serves as a free neighbourhood social network. It’s promoted as a platform where you can get to know your neighbours and make friends.It is also a community which allows people to exchange recommendations about local businesses. You can also buy and sell items and exchange local tips and reviews.It was founded in 2008 and was launched in the USA in 2011; it is now available in more than 11 countries.
Nearly 1 in 3 people use it in the USA. NextDoor states that it connects everyone nearby.
Perhaps being a little too nearby. It’s all well and dandy, but exposing your real-identity to these ‘neighbours’ also isn’t what the wisest owls would do. It’s like opening your door to the predators right into your nest.
Although NextDoor has tried to make its services more secure such as recently stopping publishing peoples addresses; they still request that people use their real first and last names. But we advise otherwise. If you’re going to use the platform at least using a pseudonym form of your name or a slightly alternative form of your name would be a little wiser.
Your data is collected
Keep in mind that NextDoor collects information from your browser and device. As a result, if you use NextDoor on more than one device (a computer, a phone, a tablet), it collects data from all of them. It can also access your Facebook data if you sign up for NextDoor with your Facebook account.
It’s important to keep safe and prevent yourself from being doxxed or on a more serious note harassed locally. Therefore, if you're going to use the platform and connect to all kinds of people in your local area you should ensure you follow precautions. Here are some ways you can stay safe on NextDoor.
Conceal your street number
The ability to hide your street number from every neighbour in your neighbourhood is the most important privacy feature you can control. Even though your neighbours will still be able to see your street name, they won't be able to see your full address, so you are less likely to become the target of bullying either offline or online.
Choose your profile picture in the top right corner, then click Settings > Privacy. Select the only display street name option for Show address to my neighbourhood as setting.
In addition to the Nearby Neighbourhoods feature which shows you local businesses, NextDoor also has a feature that lets nearby neighbourhoods selectively share posts. You cannot post something anonymously to nearby Neighbourhoods. Members of Nearby Neighbourhoods will have access to your name, neighbourhood, and photo, but they won't have access to your full address or contact information.
Take Posting precautions
Even though there is a limit to your posts visibility and can only be accessed by the members of your own neighbourhood; you want to avoid unnecessary conflict which could lead to dire consequences. Avoid attracting negative attention to yourself by being active in critical commentary or spamming people with promotions as this could lead to grievances or even vengeful actions taken against you.
Neighbourhoods on the platform could have anywhere from 1,000 to over 3,000 households within them. That's a vast amount; they may be local but most of them would be complete strangers whose backgrounds you know nothing about!
NextDoor doesn’t allow you to post to a customized list of neighbours like Facebook does. This means that when you create a post everyone on the platform can see it; it’s important to know the scope of how many strangers can see your posts. Ensure that your content is not expository in any way. Also you could think about using private messaging rather than exposing personal information on the platform for all eyes to see and possibly use to dox you.
This one’s obvious
This one is a little bit like duh; do not hand your breadcrumbs over to the pigeons. Avoid providing your personal information such as your email, names, phone number, social security, social security or PayPal details. NextDoor compromises you as it promotes itself as a secure website where you can easily buy and sell services online but be wise so that you do not encounter any nasty surprises. Not only can you have your NextDoor account compromised or having your personal information leaked; but it could lead to much more dangerous consequences such as exploitation and financial breaches.
Avoid sketchy links and shady messages
If you get any strange looking url link sent to you promoting false messages do not click them. Avoid clicking any links which divert you from the NextDoor platform. They can be used as phishing links that collect data about you. They may ask you to install programmes or force you to involuntarily install software which often leads to malware infiltrating your computer and collecting information about you. This data can then be used later for doxxers to sell or use themselves, this compromising both your account and your personal information.
Another way to spot such scams are through these major signs. If you receive an URL link where the link and the URL at the bottom of your browser do not match do not click! You can control this by hovering your mouse over it and by seeing if the links are mismatched.
Another major sign is if the messages or links that you receive are grammatically incorrect, filled with typos, mismatched font sizes, spelling mistakes and mismatched font types.
If you feel that a user is violating the security policies in any way or is a potential threat; you can report them to NextDoor. You can report any comments; such as fishy sketchy as we discussed and you can report a user entirely if they have crossed a line so that they can be banned.
In order to do this, go to the top right hand corner of the poster or commenter's name and click report. You can also report a neighbour through mobile or your web-browser by accessing the neighbours page or tab from the main menu settings.
From the main-menu, select the neighbours page from the tab. Select the neighbour you wish to report and select the down-arrow followed by the three dots followed by report.
Known attacks be aware
Finally, It’s also important to keep yourself in the loop in regards to doxxer and scamming trends. For example, currently there is a recent trending scam regarding gift cards. In which there are advertisements promoting luxury items titled too good to be true offering ridiculously discounted prices. These are actually phishing links or scams and should be avoided at all costs.
This scam has been reported to be aimed at high-value items such vehicles or electronic products. Be very cautious if you’re purchasing these high-ticket items online.Most deals like these that are said to be too good to be true; usually are.
These scammers usually claim that they are sharing these on the behalf of a friend or family member so that they come across as more friendly or inviting. They then request any interested parties to contact the owner or get in touch via another email address. They are then contacted outside of the NextDoor Platform. They then request payment in the form of gift cards; however they do not deliver the sale to the victim.
We hope this guide on NextDoor has been helpful; you may also be interested in our other guides on how to keep the predators out at Pragmatic Paranoia; paranoia at its best.