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Notes from the Handbasket: neighborly behavior, NextDoor


NextDoor, a private social network for neighborhoods, is a popular means of letting neighbors know if you have a washer and dryer to sell or if you want to buy a camper. NextDoor lets people ask for plumber recommendations and post information about crime in the area.

A handy app for the neighborly…unless your address is on the sex offender registry.

No one who lives at a registered address is allowed to join NextDoor. Not the registrant, not the spouse. No one at that address.


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How is this not punished? Another bullet for a lawsuit.
Keep it coming!!

There’s no lawsuit for this any more than there’s one against facebook. If they don’t want me using their private website, it’s fine. I’ve never heard of it anyhow.

This is true… a private business has the right to refuse service to anyone unless they are a protected class. Just like “no shoes, no shirt, no service”. However! They are refusing service to anyone residing at the objectionable address. On what grounds should your wife / husband be prohibited from utilizing their services? That makes it a bit more interesting. Just another one of those fun collateral consequences of not abandoning a person on the registry. I agree with your sentiment about this company. Then again, I am very wary of all of these “free” services. There is no… Read more »

Yes but keeping track of all these companies than ban offenders sure is good ammo for future lawsuits agains the registry.

Just another example of the public registry being no big deal.

I tried to sign up a couple of years ago and was denied. Nexdoor told me that my address was listed as the residence of a registered sex offender. Yup.

It definitely seems like a misguided policy for all the reasons listed by the author in her blog.

The common denominator of all of these policies is the availability of sex offender registration via the web. Get rid of that and these will go away. Corporations now consider it legally advisable to act on information available to them, from a liability standpoint. Lawyers and insurance companies urge them to keep us out of these private resources. As long as they have access to this information, then they will feel obligated to act upon it. It also says much about the extent to which we have become a litigious society and the ease of suing entities tangentially related to… Read more »

Why would someone sue NextDoor for allowing a registered person on their site? Megan’s law site itself states it is not making a recommendation of dangerousness (ha, ha, what a joke). More likely it is because someone might complain and NextDoor would fear losing customers. Appearances are tied to the bottom line in social media. Bad press can kill profits. Nonetheless, they are breaking California code 290.46 for denying service to registrants. We all wish there was more litigation against this type of restriction, don’t we, but it won’t happen soon. Too many battles to fight.

It’s not that having sex offenders is likely to make them a target for lawsuits so much as the extreme legal risk-aversion which exists in corporations today as well as the possibility of adverse publicity. Corporate lawyers live for these fine-grain, anal-retentive policies and their insurers are insane with them. It’s the pursuit of becoming a completely risk-free enterprise that drives company policy. And governments.

Then one of our goals should be to make it risky for them to ban registrants and their households. How are we going to do that? They don’t fear us (to their children, yes, but to their business models, no). Nor do governments fear us. The only way they are going to scrap the precious registry is if it becomes a liability to the judges and politicians. Look at judge Phyllis Hamilton. She didn’t fear us. She knew the government representative was inept. They didn’t even have to invest in an eloquent attorney. The judge feared the government, or rather… Read more »

I was living in the Santa Cruz moutains recently and a month or so into living there, my roommate was removed from NextDoor without warning. I asked her to contact them and get in writing their response: JUN 16, 2017 | 11:16AM PDT David W. replied: Hi ****, I’m sorry to hear that you’re not receiving our responses. Unfortunately, public records indicate that you share a home with a registered sex offender (offender profile attached) on the California Offender Registry and our policy, therefore, blocks everyone in your household from using Nextdoor: We understand there are many people on… Read more »

I have several issues with this letter David W of Nextdoor sent in reply. 1) It is not up to Nextdoor to determine anything about any RC at any address. Others will do that for you if you know anything. That is what the “pros” are for when it comes to assessing an RCs risk, not yours. Take the word of the “pros”, not your fear mongering cowardly thought process. (The debate of pros is substantial on ACSOL, but is not the intent here) 2) A “no exceptions policy” is required precondition for a partnership? If that is true, then… Read more »

Nextdoor has “partnerships” with law enforcement? Sounds like a front for the NSA or Homeland Security for data collection like Facebook, but local. What has become of society that we should need an app to interact with our neighbors. Creepy.

So you’re saying this is evidence for discrimination against registrants?

Odd, I thought they said the registry didn’t pose a disability. Ya know… like presence and residency restrictions were once constitutional and not a disability… well, before it was recently deemed unconstitutional.

1203.4 dismissal states, upon successful completion of probation,… he/she shall be removed from all penalties and disabilities from the conviction.

Ca. Const, Art 1, Sec 7b. Equal Protection of Immunities. Either all get the immunity prescribed or no one gets the immunity. Yeah… that law actually exists in the Ca Constitution!

Facebook is a whole other ball game. Not allowed to join?? Then you can NOT comment to most news stories online. Huge, Huge, Huge Problem.

My libertarian side says Facebook is a private company and can exclude us if it desires. But my practical side wonders if public accommodation laws might apply, foreclosing that option on their part?

Agreed, but that does not mean that regretting such a situation is not a legitimate expression of frustration. Indeed, the ubiquity of FaceBook does raise serious concerns as a company of overwhelming market dominance. However, I’m not inclined to use government to regulate that marketplace as, historically, these challenges tend to be exacerbated rather than ameliorated by state interference. After all, most actual monopolies have been state constructs and have survived in that form only through it’s protections (think ATandT). Invariably, or nearly so, market forces deflate defacto monopolies over time. They are temporary and we tend to look back… Read more »

I think Facebook or Nextdoor can exclude some U.S. citizens if they like but it should absolutely be against the law for any government entity or anything paid by government to use Facebook or Nextdoor. Government entities cannot be allowed to use resources or communicate via mechanisms that are not available to all taxpayers/citizens. The government entities that use them should be sued and forced to stop.

And that right there my friend is exactly the premise for a lawsuit that I have been thinking about for years now. Maybe not necessarily lawsuit against the companies but definitely but government for banishing Citizens by adopting services that we are not allowed to use and we’ll never be able to be allowed to use due to the policies of those companies. I can’t help but think that this would be an automatic win with just the right arguments.

It’s not a private company. it’s publicly traded.

Of course, you are correct. I was thinking in terms of “government vs. private” and not giving much thought to the distinction between publicly-traded vs. private corporations. FaceBook is, indeed, a publicly-traded corporation.

That distinction is generally not relevant in the context of public accommodation laws.

Personally I have no interest in Facebook. I decided when MySpace and Facebook first came on the scene that I had no desire to live my life naked to the world. But I am interested in the application of public accommodation laws to companies that provide goods and services over the internet to the public, yet exclude sex offenders.

There are people who argue that FaceBook, and other web-only services should be “public accommodations.” This is a contentious issue that is far from settled. Those people who believe that it should be a public accommodation, I would argue, are busybodies. The same sort of busybodies who demanded the Registry, residency restrictions for sex offenders, and the International Megan’s Law. When FaceBook determines that I can’t travel freely as a Registrant, that I register in person every year as a Registrant and that I can’t live within x number of feet of a school or playground or a nursery, just… Read more »

I don’t want them to be treated as common carriers or public utilities, granted monopoly power, or quasi-governmental status. Mixing Free Enterprise (or business, generally) and State is as bad an idea as mixing Church and State, in my view.

I was referring to the sort of public accommodation laws that many states enact to force commercial enterprises, whether privately owned or publicly traded, to serve all customers equally.

Facebook is not a priority for me either. It has nothing to do with our fight.

Include me in the camp that FB, Nextd00r, etc., don’t matter. There policies are but manifestations of what the Government is doing to us. Were there no provision in Federal law to supply NSOR data to online entities, these sites would be blind to and ignorant of who and is who is not a RC. Online sites try to create a perfected, sanitized world. It’s not like real life. After all, how many times have we all been standing next to another RC and not know it? How many times has an ex-con murderer chatted with us in line at… Read more »

Online media outlets are under no obligation to accept or publish your comments, just as print media are under no obligation to accept or publish your letters to the editor. Therefore, their using a system (FB) that you cannot access is irrelevant.

Irrelevant? I think not. Under your thinking, it would be fine if the postal service banned registrants from sending mail. In the old days, a newspaper might publish a letter to the editor sent by snail mail. It is the Constitutional right of any and all individuals to express themselves by sending a letter. The de facto method of ‘delivery’ of such communication especially to news sites has become Facebook. Most media outlets won’t even accept a mailed letter. Facebook, as gatekeeper, bans registrants from that same freedom of expression that used to be found by mailing a letter. As… Read more »

All I know is, I can’t voice my opinion and wisdom to the comments portion of news stories concerning RC’s.. Almost Every news story concerning RC’s that is linked from this site (and all other sites) requires a Facebook account in order to join the discussion. So I am excluded. Weather it’s only “until” a new form of SOCIAL media is the norm is not the point I am arguing.

So create a Facebook account. Or ten. Simple.

All it takes is for somebody report that a sex offender is using the profile of a Facebook page and suddenly that page along with all of the comments you’ve written on various web sites that use the social networking plugin for commenting is poof gone. What a waste of time. Please be part of the solution not part of the problem. Telling people that they should just create a profile anyway against the terms of service is inadvisable and is a waste of valuable time. I recommend that people be part of a solution rather than part of the… Read more »

I’ve had the same one for a decade and it works fine.

Technologically, I think it would nearly impossible to go back and remove all comments made. That would practically require all comments to be hosted on Favebook storage. Maybe it works that way but I seriously doubt it.

F Facebook. People should do everything they don’t want.

Nicholas Maietta: When I replied to your comment yesterday, I was using a mobile phone and that interface is so awful that I rarely put much effort into it. But I’m using an actual computer now so … I would just like to reiterate that not only is it easy to create new Facebook accounts, I think that ALL people who are Registered who can do so legally (which is the vast majority) should create Facebook accounts and use them. It is quick and easy to create accounts just to comment on articles. Facebook deserves to have their terms of… Read more »

“Facebook deserves to have their terms of service ignored. They deserve to be attacked.”
I am tired of being told I can’t be involved in the dialogue or that I have to use the registrant correct public speaking “drinking fountains and bathrooms” created for my kind.
Enough said.

@ Nicholas You wrote: ========== All it takes is for somebody report that a sex offender is using the profile of a Facebook page and suddenly that page along with all of the comments you’ve written on various web sites that use the social networking plugin for commenting is poof gone. What a waste of time. ========== Interesting. So why not flood FB with insinuations that certain profiles could be a sex offender? Like politicians and LEOs? Is it a crime to report that someone “might be a sex offender” under that account, which could be fake? Imagine all the… Read more »

“almost Every news story concerning RC’s that is linked from this site (and all other sites) requires a Facebook account in order to join the discussion.”

I don’t find that to be true and I comment on news sites every day. Requiring FB to make comments is a minority of news sites.

Another option may be to email your comment to the editor of the newspaper explaining that, because you are a registered citizen and because of the restrictions imposed by Facebook, you are unable to post your important comment directly to their website. Be sure to mention that their readers may be interested in hearing comments from an individual who is directly affected by the proposed legislation or restrictions under discussion. Ask if they would be so kind as to post your comment on your behalf.

The U.S. Postal Service is not a private (or publicly-traded) company. It is a quasi-governmental entity which does have monopoly status granted to it by government, unlike FaceBook. FaceBook has not yet been determined by government to be a ‘common-carrier.’ I would argue that it would be unwise to do so. When government does such things it tends to entrench a company as a monopoly rather than subject it to market forces which create its competitors. “I am less concerned with the rights of companies to make stupid exclusionary policies, than with the Constitutional rights of American citizens.” Companies are… Read more »

Why strive to take our place in the front of some stinking bus or eat at some hole in the wall private lunch counter, when what we need is an act of Congress to free us?
Why? Because the latter is not possible until we pave the way with doing the former.

Then, by all means, do it.

@4 Sensible Laws: “It is the Constitutional right of any and all individuals to express themselves by sending a letter.” —- You are 100% correct, but only stating 50% of the “conversation.” Part of Free Speech is also the right not to listen. ===== You are misusing the USPS in your example. The online parallel would be your ISP. Just like the USPS, your ISP will deliver your message to the recipient. And just like the USPS, the ISP may be told to “return to sender.” As well, FB has a First Amendment right of Free Speech, which in this… Read more »

Yes, I understand the Libertarian stance of laissez-faire capitalism. That the freedom of corporations to do as they wish is sacrosanct and so forth. In most cases, that’s perfectly fine. But I do have a problem when a single corporation controls greater than 50% of the market share for a valuable communication tool such as public forum commenting and where that company has made an arbitrary rule about who can use that tool. [The latest stat I can find is from 2015 where facebook had a 53.1% market share for their commenting plugin technology. Likely even higher now.] I’m not… Read more »

Yes, the business model used in every discussion of rights and obligations. How overused. No business can exist solely as an autonomous entity. Every business owes its existence to the greater collective of consumers and to the other entities that provide the infrastructure and the general environment the business operates under. It is a fact. When you provide a means of communication for more than half the population, then you have a moral obligation to be fair and inclusive to the population. If you exclude registrants from the platform, you may be doing more harm than good. I am sure… Read more »

I have found that most publications that accept FaceBook signing-in also accept Twitter and, what is it, Linked-in or Discus. On top of those, many also allow you to sign-up directly with the publication. I’m not finding that many use only FB. Yes, some do. The Huffington Post is one of those that only accepts FB. They are stupid to do so since it limits their readers. I would predict that they, and most others, will change this parochial restraint.

@4sensiblepolicies: ” I understand the Libertarian stance of laissez-faire capitalism.” —– Nowhere did I mention capitalism or libertarianism, nor were any of my words intended to address those topics. My point was the very structure of our society mandates that corporations must–and do–have Constitutional rights equal to a human being. You seem quite fine with abridging a corporation’s rights in the interest of yours. How is that any different than what we’re fighting? ===== “But I do have a problem when a single corporation controls greater than 50% of the market share for a valuable communication tool such as public… Read more »

I would make the additional point that it is not just a matter of seeing corporations as “people” with rights for the purposes of this argument but that corporations are also owned by individuals who are, indeed, actual people. When people come together to jointly own a corporation they do not give up their rights as individuals, either. An assemblage of people is not a ‘non-person.’ In other words, it was a monopoly only because the government granted them that status. One other thing: IBM was once thought to be approaching monopoly-level power. That problem certainly took care of itself… Read more »

I have a NextDoor account. I haven’t had any problems, nor do I ever see posts about RCs.

Are you on the registry? If so, did you get your Nextdoor account before or after you were inducted into the Hall of Fame?

NPS is on the registry, but isn’t available to be seen online. You cannot spot her on any map. This is due to either her offense was low level or due to being granted 1203.4.

So that might be the difference.

I’ve been registering since 2010. And yes to both scenarios. Offense was low-level, and it has been expunged. I was also never publicly listed.

I’m guessing that might be the difference as well.

I’ve had a Nextdoor account for years. I am a spouse and while our address isn’t listed online – I have been concerned for years that they will one day kick me off the site. We have used it for communicating with neighbors about lost pets , missing mail , lost keys , donations in the community , free furniture , any criminal activity in the neighborhood , last week there was a fire nearby. For there not to be serious legal ramifications for this company is beyond me. So now , I am also a threat and can not… Read more »

They actively scrape the public registry from the government website so by the time they get the information in their system it could already be out of date.

They’re using a government database as a tool to banish people from using their service clearly in violation of 290.46. Remember that is a penal code violation an actual law.

So sue them.

NextDoor is nothing but a gossip site. It is used to talk about others who do not clic with the current bully group. A new group starts up well enough but degrades into hood control freaks.

Really not missing much but no neighbor hood group should be able to ostracize any one within that groups boundaries.

1984, I have been active member on Nextdoor for several years. NextDoor is very popular in my neighborhood and it has allowed me to meet many of my neighbors (in real life) and to participate more fully in my community (again, in real life). I have had neighbors lend me tools, help me move furniture (with his pickup truck and his physical assistance, at no charge), and I’ve even been invited to join a very active local neighborhood association because my neighborhood does not have one. That said, I find it extremely disheartening that more registrants and their family members… Read more »

Well, isn’t this timely?


“Spot on”, what’s the Brits would say! 👍

This company is partially responsible for my business going under. My wife tried to join and they said that an RC was living at my address and they would not let her join. Since that time, my business has suffer a loss of customers each month. I now have no way of supporting my family. The biggest problem is that I can’t even get in to find the info about me, so that I can sue for damages. Nextdoor isn’t the only reason why I lost my company, but they did assist in a big way.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x