Forres resident warns against joining free neighbourhood app group Nextdoor
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FORRES residents are receiving letters from a social networking service that appears to be helping connect neighbourhoods but is also gathering information for commercial purposes.
A reader who wishes to remain nameless received a letter addressing him as ‘Forres West and Altyre Neighbour’ from ‘Jamie, Riddock Gardens’ encouraging registration with Pilmuir Road West and Altyre Community Group on free app Nextdoor to “get useful information such as local business recommendations, recover lost pets, find free stuff or sell an old bike, borrow a ladder, share safety tips, and much, much more.”
He said: “It is also claims it’s a great way to connect neighbours in need with help. My first impression was that the group was set up by a neighbour to help the local community. I was concerned about the nature and amount of personal detail required but I went ahead thinking it was a charitable group to be supported.”
However, once he registered at https://nextdoor.co.uk/ he realised one of the site’s main purposes is to make money through advertising.
He said: “I was shocked to see the amount of advertising. Members are not asked to accept cookies/advertising yet the site is being used to make money. Plus members’ personal details could be being sold on without being aware. Having realised that ‘Jamie’ was not the Good Samaritan I envisaged, I removed the app from my computer but I’ve started receiving around 20-30 email scams per day. This is very unusual for me, as in the last few years I have received no more than one or two per year.”
Founded in 2008, Nextdoor is based in San Francisco, California and is currently available in 11 countries. Users are required to submit their names and addresses; posts made to the website are available only to other Nextdoor members living in the same neighbourhood.
According to Wikipedia, Nextdoor has been criticized for racial profiling and operating as fear-based media, serving interests of real estate, private security, and police, reaffirming biases and spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation.
The reader added: “One member of the group I was in left because she started receiving scam and servicing calls after joining. Another was angry at being misled so he said he was also leaving.”
He also pointed out that non-commercial social media groups already meet local users needs.
He said: “Avoid those run for financial gain to avoid ads and scams.”