Table of contents
- Nextdoor tracking
- What is Nextdoor?
- What does Nextdoor track?
- How secure is Nextdoor?
- Nextdoor’s privacy issues
- Criminal activity
- Personal information collection
- How to use Nextdoor safely?
- Be careful with private messages
- Don’t share personal information
- Pay attention to the recommendations
- Post information carefully
- Pay in person
- Is Nextdoor safe to use?
Most social media platforms aim to be universal — they want to be everything to everyone.
Nextdoor takes on a different approach. As a location-based social networking platform, it puts renewed focus on communities. It is designed to connect neighbors with one another through many of the standard social media features people are accustomed to, such as a newsfeed.
To create a viable location-based social networking platform, Nextdoor must track a key data point: where you live. Through a variety of options, users must establish residency in a particular neighborhood to participate in its Nextdoor community. This location tracking by Nextdoor improves the integrity of the platform. Users can rest assured knowing that they are interacting with their next-door neighbors.
What is Nextdoor?
Nextdoo: what is it?
As its name implies, Nextdoor is a location-based social networking platform for local communities. It enables users to communicate with their neighbors through standard social media features, such as messaging, posting, and sharing.
In addition to facilitating interaction with neighbors, Nextdoor also helps users connect with the broader community. For example, users can purchase items to support nonprofits and charitable causes through Sell for Good. They can also get real-time announcements from local government units and agencies through Nextdoor.
What does Nextdoor track?
Perhaps the most important data asset that Nextdoor tracks is a person’s address. Given that the social network is location-based, they take steps to verify that a person lives in a particular community.
In addition to this location data, Nextdoor tracks a broad spectrum of information, as would be expected for a social media site, either directly or through third parties. This includes:
- contact details
- network details
- survey data
- social data
- assets like messages, emails, photos, videos, posts, etc.
All of the above-listed may be helpful to advertisers (Nextdoor is built on an advertising business model). Since transactions can be performed within Nextdoor, the platform also stores payment information if users elect to do so.
Users uncomfortable with this kind of website tracking or ad tracking can turn to Clario’s anti-tracking software to restore their privacy. You can also benefit from Clario’s antivirus software to check if anyone is tracking your device without your consent. Here's how to do it:
- Download Clario and get a subscription to create an account
- Initiate the antivirus software by clicking Start scan
- Wait patiently as Clario scans for viruses, malware, and other threats
- If detected, select Fix now to remove any identified threats, so you can safely resume your Nextdoor experience.
How secure is Nextdoor?
There would be numerous security and privacy issues if a user could purport to live in a neighborhood they actually don’t. Imposters could do so to gather intelligence for future crimes, stalk a particular neighbor, or collect personal information on community members in general.
To mitigate this threat, Nextdoor has implemented several security features to protect users. These include:
- Address verification. Since Nextdoor is a location-based social network platform, its onboarding process focuses on verifying a person’s address. To qualify, the user must rent or own a home in the neighborhood, or plan to do so. Verification for any of these statuses can be done by providing accepted documents, geo-locating their home computer, or furnishing their phone’s billing address.
- Two-factor authentication. Users have the option to turn on two-factor authentication. This way, even if an attacker gains access to their Nextdoor credentials, they will be unable to log in since a code will be sent to their email or phone number.
- Market education. Nextdoor educates users on common scams, so they can stay safe online. They are also advised on how to fine-tune their privacy settings to what they are comfortable with. Users can control how they appear in search, who can see their content, what others can view, and other similar settings.
- User reporting. Users can report the behavior to the security team, who takes action as necessary. These behaviors may include actions that simply go against the community guidelines, such as using a fake name, all the way up to more serious infractions, such as harassment.
In addition to the security features mentioned above, Nextdoor also takes steps to safeguard user data. The platform encrypts all data both in transit and at rest, which means that any data transmitted between the user’s device and Nextdoor's servers is secured. Nextdoor also maintains an active vulnerability disclosure program to identify and address any potential security flaws.
Nextdoor’s privacy issues
Despite these best practices, there will always be bad actors that slip through the cracks. There are several potential security and privacy issues that can occur through Nextdoor.
There are many crimes that can be facilitated with Nextdoor. Some schemes occur as part of a transaction — the scammer will request that payment be made by gift card, wire transfer, or other third-party means. Taking the transaction outside of Nextdoor makes it easier for scammers to steal and launder funds without it being tracked back to them.
Nextdoor can also aid in property crime. Thieves can use the platform to virtually “case” a target home, learning about the residents, their schedule, and their valuables.
Harassment on Nextdoor may be generalized. Some users may repeatedly spam messages to members of a particular community, or copy and paste the same message to many different users. While this content is easy to ignore, it does fall under the banner of harassment.
The far more serious harassment cases are those targeted at a specific individual or group. Nextdoor, for example, has had issues with racism. Some users have posted content filled with prejudice, even going so far as to make threats against the minority group. Since Nextdoor is a location-based social media platform, this harassment can be especially concerning — the people who hate you live nearby and know where you live. Nextdoor has a “zero-tolerance policy” toward any such harassment and hate speech.
Like other social media platforms, Nextdoor may also be used for romantic harassment. An ex-partner or jilted lover can use the platform to harass the person they are obsessed with.
Personal information collection
Unfortunately, there are also instances of non-legitimate personal information collection on Nextdoor, such as phishing. In phishing, attackers will lure users with free or exclusive offers, such as coins or gifts, in an attempt to get them to give personal information or credentials. The attackers will then use this data to identify theft or financial cybercrime.
How to use Nextdoor safely?
Despite the risks present on Nextdoor, users can protect themselves from bad actors through a variety of best practices.
Be careful with private messages
Because Nextdoor is a popular haven for phishing and other cybercrimes, users should be careful when communicating via private messages. Users should watch out for other users with offers that lead to suspicious websites with misspelled URLs or words. For instance, if a person asks you to proceed to https://www.paypol.com/, you should not click on the link. Users can be assured that Nextdoor will never reach out to them to ask for or confirm personal information. If a person contacts a user purporting to be a representative of Nextdoor, this is likely a scammer. Communicate with Nextdoor only via their official channels.
Exercising caution with private messages will prevent users from falling victim to phishing and other cybercrimes. Since it’s impossible to stay up to date with all potential cybercrimes, Nextdoor recommends general vigilance: “Scams are ever-evolving, so it’s important always to exercise caution and common sense.”
Clario also offers a web protection solution that helps you keep away from phishing links and websites — a Safari and Chrome extension. It is easy to activate and 100% effective in its use.
Don’t share personal information
Whether in posts or private messages, users should never share their personal information. This includes obvious sensitive information, such as your birthdate, social security number, and login details to various websites, as well as personal trivia, such as the name of your first pet, that may be the answer to a security question. Users also don’t need to give out their private contact information, such as an email or phone number, because “members don’t need this to send you private messages.”
Protecting this data ensures that users are safe not only on Nextdoor but on their other personal accounts across the web.
Pay attention to the recommendations
There is safety in social proof. To this end, Nextdoor has a feature that enables users to make recommendations related to their community, such as which businesses to patronize or which service providers to pick, such as “dog walkers, home repair services, babysitters, landscapers, and more.”
This feature promotes safety. A babysitter that is highly recommended on Nextdoor is more trustworthy than one that reaches out to a household via cold email, for example. Users should leverage this recommendation feature to interact with only respected and vetted individuals and organizations in their community.
Post information carefully
Even if Nextdoor has various privacy controls in place, users should assume that anything they post is public. A good rule of thumb is to avoid posting any kind of personal information. It may be tempting to post about yourself and your family on a social network meant for the community, but the risks are too high. Even a post about something as seemingly benign as your child’s basketball game may be dangerous — criminals now know when you are likely gone and your house is empty and ready to be burglarized.
Pay in person
When making a transaction, users should never pay with gift cards, cryptocurrencies, or other unconventional means. Users should also avoid paying with popular mobile wallets and payment platforms, such as PayPal and Venmo, so that none of their personal data is exposed. The best way to pay for an item is through an in-person meetup. This allows users to verify the condition of the item and also pay in cash so that the seller does not get any of their personal information or account details.
Overall, Nextdoor recommends that users follow their intuition — “If a requested arrangement doesn’t feel right to you (ex., you’re being rushed with the transaction), don’t proceed with it.”
Is Nextdoor safe to use?
Like any social media platform, when it comes to Nextdoor, the security of the user is in the hands of the user themselves. If you post personal information, pay using third-party platforms, and ignore other privacy and security no-nos, you are bound to fall victim to some of the scams that have plagued Nextdoor.
If, on the other hand, the user follows the best practices documented in this article, they should expect a generally safe and flawless experience on Nextdoor. The site will allow them to connect with their neighbors more easily and do so in a setting that is comfortable, charming, and community-driven.