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Miguel Bosé, ridiculizado en un grafiti de Valencia con una referencia de «Los Simpson»

Las respuestas a los discursos de Miguel Bosé sobre el coronavirus y la pandemia que azota a todos los países tardaron segundos en vertirse en las redes sociales, y ahora también se han plasmado en las calles de Valencia de la mano del artista urbano J.Warx. Este ha plasmado su arte en un grafiti ubicado en una calle del barrio del Carmen, y en él el cantante español queda ridiculizado con una referencia que solo los más frikis de «Los Simpson» saben apreciar al 100%. Ataviado con bata de médico, Miguel Bosé simula al «doctor Nick Riviera» de la famosísima serie, un personaje que representa a un médico de dudosa creencia. «-Hola a todo el mundo! -Hola dr. Nick!!» es la frase que acompaña a la imagen del mural de J.Warx. Miguel Bosé, que promovió la protesta «antimascarillas» de los negacionistas del coronavirus este domingo 16A en Madrid, se encontraba en México, según ha salido a la luz este miércoles. Desde allí, a través de sus redes sociales, el cantante alentó a sus seguidores con mensajes como este: «Muchos ciudadanos queremos expresar nuestro desacuerdo con las medidas implantadas en España por el Covid-19 y por eso nos vamos a manifestar este domingo en Madrid». Ese mismo día se supo que Bosé les dio plantón.
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Where Bernie Sanders’s online army goes now
Bernie Sanders at a rally in Queens, New York, on October 19, 2019, during his presidential campaign. | Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images “It was never Bernie’s army. It was the army that got behind Bernie.” Sen. Bernie Sanders is all but certain to never run for president again. So what happens to the massive army that formed around him across two presidential campaigns to render him the most formidable force in online campaigning and fundraising on the left? Sanders’s mantra was “not me, us,” and now, the “us” is taking up his mantle. Sanders has served as the North Star for progressives in recent years, but his exit from the presidential race does not mean the energy behind him disappeared. Now, his supporters, volunteers, and even staff are branching off to focus on advancing an array of progressive issues, many of which Sanders helped bring to the forefront of the political conversation in America, such as Medicare-for-all and the Green New Deal. “It was never Bernie’s army,” said Tyson Brody, former research director for the Sanders campaign. “It was the army that got behind Bernie.” And post-Bernie, you can see that army appearing in a lot of places. Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) embrace of the Green New Deal drew him support from internet-savvy organizers and volunteers, demonstrating it’s not just Sanders who can capture meme magic on the left. The climate-focused Sunrise Movement, which officially launched in 2017 with a plan to back candidates focused on combating climate change, is emerging as an increasingly powerful force on the left, making hundreds of thousands of calls for progressive congressional challengers, such as Jamaal Bowman and Charles Booker. Sunrise and other youth activist groups, many of which credit Sanders as an inspiration, have launched a collective effort to organize young people before and after the election to push for progressive change. And the Working Families Party, which backed Elizabeth Warren in 2020 and Sanders in 2016, has launched a “people’s charter” policy framework for rebuilding the country after November, and key progressive leaders and groups have signed it. Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images Members of the Sunrise Movement gather outside of the DNC headquarters in New York City on August 13, 2019, to pressure members to vote for a climate change debate. After suspending his presidential bid in April, Sanders has also leveraged his platform to get Joe Biden elected president and to draw attention to down-ballot races and causes Sanders cares about. And he is already positioning himself to continue to push his priorities forward once the election is over. “It was never Bernie’s army. It was the army that got behind Bernie.” In recent weeks, I spoke with 20 organizers, leaders, and strategists on the left about what’s happening in the online progressive movements that formed to support Sanders’s presidential bids and where they believe things are headed. What emerged is a picture of a policy-driven, tech-savvy cohort with enormous energy that doesn’t begin or end with Sanders. It may lack some cohesion, but that’s not necessarily a significant weakness. “For a lot of [progressive activists], we haven’t had a chance to conceptualize an organizing ethos that is not structured around a presidential candidate,” said Mattias Lehman, digital director of Sunrise. After all, before there was Sanders, there was Barack Obama. “It feels very freeing. It allows us to move into a lot of political organizing that is outside the realm of presidential politics.” When Bernie said, “Not me, us,” he meant it Sanders’s campaign committee, dubbed Friends of Bernie Sanders, has gotten smaller, but it continues to operate. Its goal is to keep his base and volunteers engaged and put his platform to use — and it’s an important one, given not only Sanders’s stature but also the fact that the pandemic has pushed politics even more online. No one else on the left — not even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is still building out her operation — really rivals his reach. Much of AOC’s online influence is less formal and is still based on her ability to fire off a viral tweet or shoot an Instagram Live video from home. According to data from social media content tracker NewsWhip, Sanders’s posts on Facebook have generated tens of millions more interactions on Facebook than Ocasio-Cortez over the past month, and he posts much more often than she does. And as a prominent presidential candidate before his exit from the race, Sanders and his campaign committee has still vastly outraised Ocasio-Cortez. Sanders has reactivated his campaign’s volunteer Slack, which has tens of thousands of people in it and was an important place for it to engage volunteers during the primary, and he’s invited representatives from different campaigns and groups to the channel to recruit volunteers for their own causes. His volunteers are also texting voters on behalf of local candidates. Check out this wholesome text exchange with a @BernieSanders volunteer. #NotMeUs pic.twitter.com/7M8BNh95AS— Sara InnamoVOTEo (@Innamo) October 15, 2020 “We don’t want to lose all that great energy that went into electing Bernie,” said Georgia Parke, digital communications director and press secretary for the campaign committee. Sanders has endorsed many candidates and groups, including Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Mondaire Jones, Ilhan Omar, AOC, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, and tapped into his grassroots fundraising network to help many of them raise money. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez field questions from audience members at a climate crisis summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on November 9, 2019. “The reality is he still has a huge audience; he still has a huge amount of followers on social media. So there’s no reason not to use that audience and continue to engage them with content that goes along with the senator’s message,” said Armand Aviram, a senior media producer for Sanders. Those who work with Sanders say he is still closely involved in his digital operation. In late September, Sanders hosted a live stream event focused on races in Texas. It featured former presidential candidates and Texas politicians Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro as well as four local candidates — three for Congress, one for district attorney. His team continues to push out videos about President Trump, health care, and a variety of other controversial issues that engage people. “For the same reason that Trump does well on social media, Bernie can do things that lend themselves well to a viral video,” Aviram said. “It’s never one cycle, it’s never one campaign, and the fact that we didn’t win does not mean that we’re not going to stop trying to help people and to use the tools and the stuff that we have available to us online to keep pushing these policies and make a better future and a better life for people,” Parke said. “Every campaign we ran, there were thousands more people who were waking up to politics for the first time, getting active for the first time, donating for the first time — and there’s so much value in that.” “For the same reason that Trump does well on social media, Bernie can do things that lend themselves well to a viral video.” For some outside groups dedicated to Sanders’s White House run, like a grassroots Slack channel called Connect With Bernie and an online group called the People for Bernie Sanders, the road ahead is less clear. Both have lost active members and some steam since Sanders lost the primary this spring. “We keep on saying to ourselves that we need to talk about what’s going to happen after the election. It’s weird to have such a successful page named after a candidate who’s never running for president again. Do we want to be a successful publishing page on social media? Or do we want to be a political operation that has goals that we can point to?” said Charles Lenchner, one of the co-founders of People for Bernie. Other campaigns have been able to pick up where Sanders left off Presidential campaigns and primaries in particular tend to suck all of the air out of the room when it comes to political attention. But once the 2020 Democratic presidential primary ended, there were still a lot of engaged, energized people backing Sanders who were looking for a place to direct their attention. “I don’t think that you have an online following that is engaged that just disappears overnight,” said Julian Brave NoiseCat, vice president of policy and strategy at progressive pollster Data for Progress. “The question would be who can come around and pick them up — either encourage them to start doing more coalition work or just direct their frustration at the party in productive ways.” Waleed Shahid, communications director at Justice Democrats, a group that backs progressive primary candidates in an effort to pull the Democratic Party further left, said he believes that candidates such as Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush ousted incumbents in their primaries in part because of momentum from Sanders’s campaign. (Sanders also endorsed both candidates.) That is likely true for candidates who had primaries in the spring and summer, including Mondaire Jones, who won his congressional primary in New York. “A lot of people felt heartbroken when [Bernie] dropped out and sort of looked to other candidates that shared his values, and I think a lot of those folks were excited to use that energy and passion to support someone who they saw as having a similar message,” said Hannah Nayowith, Jones’s campaign manager. In Ed Markey, young progressives found another old white guy to love The figure who has best been able to tap into the progressive energy once directed at Sanders’s campaign is Sen. Ed Markey. The 74-year-old Massachusetts Democrat faced a tough primary challenge from Joe Kennedy this election cycle, and for much of the race, he was expected to lose — until the kids stepped in to help. “For most of these young people, they knew Ed Markey and thought he was cool because he was AOC’s friend,” Joe Walsh, Markey’s campaign manager, explained. Markey introduced the Green New Deal in the Senate, and while his record isn’t perfectly progressive, he leaned into the parts of it that are and embraced progressive policies during the primary. Soon, Markey had a cohort of stans who believe it’s cool to support the milkman’s son from Massachusetts. One group, Students for Markey, focused more on field outreach. Another group — a Twitter account called @edsreplyguys — got to work on making Markey relatable through memes. “Because we were unaffiliated, we had a lot of freedom to post what we wanted, whenever we wanted,” said Emerson Toomey, one of the college students behind the account. Were these grassroots, online-organizing supporters the only reason Markey won? Of course not. But it did help resuscitate his campaign. And the efforts can also provide a blueprint for candidates going forward. These young, engaged progressives care about policy, such as climate and health care, and if politicians are willing to commit to what they care about, they’ll back them up. “The secret is there are actually a lot of Ed Markeys in Congress, and if you can get people to embrace the progressive side of themselves that they’ve been told for 30 years they shouldn’t show to people ... then the progressive movement doesn’t just have to elect the AOCs and the Jamaal Bowmans,” said Josh Miller-Lewis, the former digital communications director for Sanders. “You can actually grow much faster by electing the Ed Markeys of the world.” Markey shows that politicians don’t have to be pure in their political history to gain progressive groups’ trust. They just need to be committed — and it doesn’t hurt if they can go viral, as Markey did days before the Massachusetts primary. “Their litmus test, if you will, is a level of fearlessness that they feel. Are you willing to say the thing that other people are not?” Walsh said. Alex Wong/Getty Images Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey at a press conference unveiling their Green New Deal resolution on Capitol Hill on February 7, 2019. To be sure, political campaigns are not the only places that some of the post-Sanders attention and work are going. Democratic Socialists of America, which saw an increase in membership after the 2016 election, has added members in 2020 as well. And there are newer organizations, such as Sunrise and Justice Democrats, eager to take up the mantle. Some people I spoke with also observed that the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted over the summer absorbed progressive energy as well. The protests were a particularly important way for people of color to channel their focus, many of whom had long been organizing for racial justice. “Things felt very dismal for a little while, and having a non-electoral cause to organize around, again, after having those roots initially, I think for a lot of people was very grounding,” Lehman, from Sunrise, said. “I thought he would have won, and I still do.” Bernie Sanders wasn’t the beginning of the American left, and he won’t be the end of it. But his two presidential campaigns leveraged the power of the internet to help change the political conversation in the US. He, along with Elizabeth Warren, built an enormous platform that helped train a new generation of activists and inspired fellow politicians who will take the lead, such as Ocasio-Cortez. “The way I look at it, four years ago, there was only Bernie Sanders, and now there is a whole array of progressive leaders,” said Stevie O’Hanlon, a spokesperson for Sunrise. “When Sunrise was started, there was no AOC, there was no Rashida [Tlaib], there was no Jamaal Bowman. Ed Markey was not talking about socialism. I don’t see [Sanders’s failure] as a loss; I see it as a huge step forward for the left because now we have dozens and dozens of leaders in Congress and all over the country who are ready to carry the torch forward.” Stephanie Keith/Getty Images New York congressional candidate Jamaal Bowman greets supporters in Yonkers, New York, on June 23. Of course, this wasn’t possible without some battles — tensions between Sanders and Warren in the 2020 presidential primaries divided some progressives online. But after both candidates ended their bids, most of their supporters have set aside their conflicts. “Some of that beef is way more of a beef with the online left than the offline left. You might see more of that on Twitter than actually exists with people who are always doing organizing,” Shahid said. The “people’s charter” put forth by the Working Families Party, which backed Warren in the primary, has been signed onto by Sunrise, which backed Sanders. “We have different strategies, we have different bases, but at the end of the day, it’s going to take all of us to get anything that we want achieved on every level of office in this country,” said Nelini Stamp, national organizing director for WFP. “That means us coming together, and it also means us pushing forward.” “The way I look at it, four years ago, there was only Bernie Sanders, and now there is a whole array of progressive leaders” None of this is to say that the post-Sanders left isn’t fractious, or that there isn’t disagreement. Despite the “Bernie or bust” trope of “Bernie bros” who in 2016 supposedly wouldn’t vote for anyone but Sanders, in 2020, the vast majority of Sanders supporters are backing Biden. Admittedly, for some, it’s more of an anti-Trump sentiment than it is pro-Joe. “There’s a danger that one part of this online coalition is going to go into an even more fringe direction, but I think by and large, the mass of people ... are still there, still have the same beliefs,” said Bhaskar Sunkara, publisher of socialist magazine Jacobin. While online progressives may no longer have a specific person they’re organizing around, they do have policies, such as the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all. They are policies Sanders helped put front and center in American politics. The historic movement Sanders built came close to capturing the Democratic nomination for the White House, even though he ultimately failed. “It shows both the powers and limitations of being an extremely popular online candidate,” Brody said. “I think it carried Bernie a long way. It did for a lot of us, but it didn’t, obviously, carry us over the top.” Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images Bernie Sanders on Capitol Hill on October 20. Shahid compared the Sanders left to the Barry Goldwater right in 1964 — the Arizona senator lost his race back then, but the ideas and people who came out of his campaign shaped the Republican Party in the years to come. “Over time, these organizers and strategists and operatives will become a greater and greater influence in the party because the future of the party looks a lot more like AOC than it does Joe Biden,” Shahid said. Take, for example, Aidan King, who was working at a Vermont vineyard in 2013 when he cofounded the Sanders for President channel on Reddit. The subreddit became a powerhouse of grassroots support for Sanders and raised millions of dollars for his campaign. King, who has no formal political training, is now a professional digital strategist. He worked for Sanders’s campaign in 2016 and 2020, and he is now the digital lead of electoral campaigns for Greenpeace. “It was never just about [Sanders]. He was never going to pretend and claim that if he got elected, he could wave a magic wand and get rid of all the country’s problems,” King says. “It was more about showing disenfranchised people and cynical people — and I was one of them — … that ‘Hey, no, it can be better, things can be good, we can force progress if we fight hard enough.’” To be sure, not everyone is staying in it — David Frederick, who founded the Sanders for President subreddit with King, has basically quit social media since the primary. “I’d already been demoralized, and by the time this came around, the level of toxicity that was coming at me was coming out of me, too,” Frederick said. “I sleep much better now.” King acknowledged it might be better for his mental and physical health if he took a break from electoral politics. “I thought he would have won, and I still do. I don’t know; it is what it is,” King said at the end of our conversation. “If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll pick a winning ticket one of these days.” Will you help keep Vox free for all? The United States is in the middle of one of the most consequential presidential elections of our lifetimes. It’s essential that all Americans are able to access clear, concise information on what the outcome of the election could mean for their lives, and the lives of their families and communities. That is our mission at Vox. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone understand this presidential election: Contribute today from as little as $3.
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The messy politics of Nextdoor
Getty Images Want to see how polarized America is? Look no further than Nextdoor. Ray Wang is bothered about what’s happening on Nextdoor lately. As a moderator for his neighborhood in Cupertino, California, he has been watching the conversation closely. “It’s descending into a cesspool of bad conversation,” Wang told Recode. “A lot of folks are very emotionally charged. They’re feeling very vulnerable and anxious at the moment, and it’s only amplifying that anxiety.” Though it’s best known for wanting to help neighbors locate missing dogs, connect with babysitters, and find fellow hobbyists, that’s not what some Nextdoor feeds look like in the days ahead of the 2020 election. Despite the company’s efforts to restrict discussions about national politics and keep things civil, some conversations on Nextdoor are becoming riddled with conspiracy theories and tense fights over local politics as well as the presidential race, according to multiple Nextdoor users and moderators. Despite its efforts to avoid them, the platform is facing the same challenges of polarization and misinformation as other social networks, like Facebook and Twitter. Nextdoor, which has reportedly signed up more than 10 million users and nearly 220,000 neighborhoods in the US, is mulling a public stock listing and has long tried to set itself apart as a safe space for local discourse. For instance, a feature called a “Kindness Reminder” encourages people to be nice in their comments on the platform. Nextdoor prohibits certain forms of misinformation, such as false information that could interfere with voting and calls to incite violence. The company also doesn’t allow political ads, and to discourage tense political debates, it directs discourse about national politics to less prominent areas of the Nextdoor website and app. But given the highly segmented nature of Nextdoor, it’s hard to tell how its communities are processing the election overall, though the company has said that use of the service has surged amid the pandemic. While it’s easier for misinformation and other content to go viral on Facebook and Twitter, Nextdoor limits who can see particular feeds based on who lives in a particular area. “The danger in that is that smaller sub-communities could be forming around highly salient, mini echo chambers of people who strongly buy into this like-minded community,” explained Catherine Delcourt, a computer science professor at Wellesley who has studied social media and political polarization. The restricted nature of Nextdoor communities can make it harder to manage misinformation and other contentious content, which has appeared on the platform this election season. Meanwhile, it’s not clear that all the moderators charged with managing these discussions are prepared for — or even interested in — keeping things as neighborly as the platform would like. Nextdoor wanted to divert people from national politics, but it hasn’t succeeded In anticipation of the upcoming election, Nextdoor announced in August that it would make changes to keep national politics out of users’ main feeds and in separate groups. Now, Nextdoor’s automated system tries to guess whether a post is about a non-local political topic, and if so, it will invite the poster to start a separate group for the topic. At the same time, the platform instructs moderators to flag posts that move toward national issues. This was done, Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar explained in an interview with Yahoo Finance earlier this year, because discussions of national politics could too quickly descend into discourtesy between neighbors. The company has long aspired to be a social network where civility and neighborliness prevail; there’s even a guide to being respectful to your neighbors in the Nextdoor help center. Still, users criticize the company for becoming, instead, a platform for all sorts of pettiness, vitriol, and offensive behavior among neighbors. Nextdoor On its website, Nextdoor displays a “decision tree” directing its moderators how to regulate posts about politics. “Your ability to connect to Nextdoor is really tied into living in that physical place, which creates a very different network and community than what you would see on Twitter and Facebook,” Delcourt explained. The local nature of Nextdoor has factored into some of the company’s biggest controversies. The company made changes to its crime reporting feature after criticism that the platform enables racial profiling and an exaggerated fear of crime, and there have been reports of police digitally patrolling Nextdoor neighborhoods and discrimination against Black users. This election season, rumors about voting issues have sometimes swirled on Nextdoor, according to local reports and discussions on Reddit. Officials in Colorado, for instance, have found themselves responding to claims that originated on Nextdoor, like unsubstantiated reports of voter intimidation at ballot boxes. On a Nextdoor post about wearing masks, a commenter shared an image that implied Democrats might vote on a different day than Republicans. The user said the post was flagged to both the neighborhood moderators and Nextdoor staff, and was eventually removed. In one Georgia Nextdoor community, a user shared a chain message from a “very reliable good friend” that warned of poll workers marking up ballots, falsely claiming that this could invalidate them. Another user eventually pointed out that the rumor was wrong — poll workers can’t invalidate ballots by writing on them — and directed others to a Snopes fact-check of the viral message. But several people had already said they shared the same post on their own personal social media, according to Audrey Harrelson, a retiree in the community who spoke with Recode. There’s also evidence that more extreme conspiracy theories aren’t always taken down. A search of publicly available content on the platform indicates that, to some extent, the platform has housed QAnon-related content and organizing. Tammy Fiorella, who lives in New Jersey, told Recode that it took weeks and a Twitter call-out for Nextdoor to respond to her reports of a neighbor’s posts containing QAnon talking points. A screenshot reviewed by Recode showed this user accusing billionaire George Soros of funding a Democrat-led “deep state” and arguing that the media covers up child abuse and human trafficking. Part of the challenge of keeping conspiracy theories and misinformation off of Nextdoor stems from the company’s approach to moderation, which is typically led by several residents of a neighborhood (Nextdoor staff can sometimes step in). These unpaid moderators are given special privileges on the site, like the ability to vote on what constitutes a violation of Nextdoor’s rules. But the moderation system has led to problems. Earlier this summer, Nextdoor faced criticism when moderators deleted posts in support of Black Lives Matter, which only added to existing concerns about racist moderation practices. In response, the company declared that posts supportive of Black Lives Matter should be allowed on the platform — and could be considered local issues — and said that leads would receive unconscious bias training. Nextdoor tries to discourage discussion of national politics. Nextdoor did not respond to several requests for comment on political discussion on its platform. Vote.org, a nonprofit working with the company on voter turnout initiatives, declined to comment. Despite Nextdoor’s policies discouraging conversations about national politics, discussions of neighborhood topics can quickly derail into debates about exactly that, according to Will Payne, a geographic information science professor at Rutgers, who has researched Nextdoor. Posts about topics like yard waste pickup, he says, can quickly descend into discussions about “antifa” and “the wall.” “I think they saw that as an issue and created this other place to say, ‘Look, you can talk about Trump, Biden, or whatever, you just can’t do it in the main area. We’re going to create special groups for you to go talk about that,’” Payne told Recode about Nextdoor’s attempt to move national politics discussions to groups, noting that Yelp has a similar strategy of sequestering certain discussions to other parts of its platform. But many issues with moderation remain. Kiersten Dirkes, who works in the film industry in the greater Los Angeles area, told Recode that when she posted a link to warn people about California GOP officials setting up unauthorized ballot boxes, her post was removed. Another Nextdoor user from a suburb of Daytona Beach, who calls herself “very socially aware,” says the conservative-leaning moderators of her community make no attempt at fairness, and routinely remove her posts from the general feed while leaving pro-Trump posts up. Some users say the platform has devolved markedly in the past few months. “It went from ‘All Lives Matter’ to Covid, and then as things really started ramping up for the election, things kind of went off the rails,” says Fiorella in New Jersey, who says she’s not in any politics-focused groups on Nextdoor. “I rarely see a post that’s really about a neighborhood thing. Like once in a blue moon, I’ll see something about a lost dog or cat or something.” Robert, another user based in Daytona Beach, Florida, who asked to be identified only by his first name, told Recode that his Nextdoor community has evolved from backlash against Covid-19 safety measures, like wearing masks, into conspiracy theories and misinformation about the election, which seems inspired by Trump’s rhetoric. “Nextdoor was a tool that was created to be helpful for people and their neighbors,” Robert said. “But it’s now spawned into this offshoot thing that’s like the worst of Facebook and Twitter combined — but at a hyperlocal level.” A common flashpoint, several users told Recode, is stolen political yard signs. Sometimes, these fights can get people booted from the platform. Ian Shea-Cahir, who works in social media in Kansas City, says he posted on Nextdoor that the theft of his Biden-Harris and Black Lives Matter lawn signs constituted a crime. Then a neighbor joined the thread, threatened Shea-Cahir, and called him a “communist.” Shea-Cahir responded by reporting the comment to the Nextdoor moderators and forwarding screenshots to the police. When the insults continued, Shea-Cahir donated to Black Lives Matter in the neighbor’s name. Nextdoor then blocked Shea-Cahir from posting on the platform, claiming he had been bullying. Even local discussions have become polarized on the platform Compared to national politics, Nextdoor is more welcoming of discussions of local and state politics, which can have a more measurable influence on a locality’s policies. This appears to be a way that Nextdoor can set itself apart from other social networks, which could soon be more direct competition. Facebook is currently testing a feature called Neighborhoods that looks an awful lot like Nextdoor. This invites users to create verified, localized profiles that connect with others nearby, a move that comes as Facebook continues to emphasize private group interactions. “We think local politics actually has a really big place on Nextdoor,” Friar told Wired earlier this fall. “It’s an interesting nuance of: how do we ensure national moves off into a group but local can really stay in the main newsfeed because, for many people, there’s no local news anymore, no newspaper to go to. So it can be the way they’re finding out about what’s going on with, say, the local mayor.” The platform also provides local public agencies like city governments as well as fire and police departments a direct channel to “easily broadcast information” to several Nextdoor communities at once. But even in local updates, multiple users told Recode that misinformation, politically motivated moderation, and general distrust of discussions about local political topics remain problematic on Nextdoor. Officials in one town in Michigan even sued Nextdoor this summer, arguing that misinformation about a local ballot initiative spread on the platform and led to its failure to pass. Beyond misinformation, some neighborhood feeds seem influenced by politicized moderators and a black-box algorithm. Wang, the moderator from Cupertino who described Nextdoor as a “cesspool of bad conversation,” says the platform’s moves to discourage national political discussions have made discourse around local politics even more heated. “I honestly don’t think they want to be in the political business or in the business of censorship,” Wang said. “They just want to be a happy community that’s hyperlocal.” Stephen Floor, a professor at the University of California San Francisco, noted that there’s no mechanism for users to report and remove false information about local initiatives, adding that his Nextdoor contains misinformation about several California propositions on the ballot this year. “I understand that there’s going to be differences of opinion,” he told Recode. “But when somebody misrepresents the text of a proposition that is worth billions of dollars, that seems to be something that should be regulated.” But understanding just how much of Nextdoor has been subsumed by the election is difficult. Each community, segmented from public view, comes with its own tensions and problems. And each neighborhood can end up in its own echo chamber, with moderators and community creating their own political reality. “I looked around here and I couldn’t find any election misinformation in my small neighborhood and its neighbors in Central New Jersey,” said Payne, the Rutgers professor. “But that tells me very little about what’s going on elsewhere.” Open Sourced is made possible by Omidyar Network. All Open Sourced content is editorially independent and produced by our journalists. Will you help keep Vox free for all? The United States is in the middle of one of the most consequential presidential elections of our lifetimes. It’s essential that all Americans are able to access clear, concise information on what the outcome of the election could mean for their lives, and the lives of their families and communities. That is our mission at Vox. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone understand this presidential election: Contribute today from as little as $3.
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