Neighborhood social network Nextdoor is taking steps to encourage its users to be more neighborly toward their neighbors.
Nextdoor began rolling out Kindness Reminder in the U.S. Wednesday, saying that if a member replies to a neighbor’s post with a potentially offensive or hurtful comment, they will be prompted before the comment goes live and given the chance to review the social network’s community guidelines and edit or delete that reply.
According to Nextdoor, early tests of Kindness Reminder showed that 20% of people who saw its prompt edited the comments, and there has been a drop in how often the prompt appeared in areas where the feature was being tested.
The feature uses data gathered from comments that were previously flagged by Nextdoor users, along with machine learning to help understand “the nuanced ways incivility can show up between people,” the social network said in a release.
Nextdoor said it plans a global rollout of Kindness Reminder in the coming months.
Chief product officer Tatyana Mamut said in the release, “As a company, we’ve been exploring how to continue bringing out the best in neighborhoods by improving the way neighbors can communicate on Nextdoor. As a connected world, we’re increasingly lonely. Many countries are witnessing national trends toward divisiveness. Our neighborhoods are diverse and made up of different people with differing viewpoints. We champion that and see kindness as an essential building block for creating stronger local communities that promote open dialogue and inclusion.”
Jennifer Eberhardt, a social scientist and author of Biased, added, “All of the problems that we have out in the world and in society make their way online, where you’re encouraged to respond quickly and without thinking. That is exactly the kind of condition under which bias is most likely to be triggered.”