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October 6, 2021

In a week when Facebook is dominating the news, I’m surprised to find myself caught up in a personal drama about another social media platform called Nextdoor.

On the surface, the issue I’m about to describe would seem insignificant. But even though it doesn’t involve 24 million viewers and $2 million like John Stossel’s lawsuit against Facebook, it does have to do with shaping neighbor-to-neighbor dialogue in communities everywhere, which might be even more important in the long run. And it has to do with humor; namely, what we’re permitted to laugh at.

That’s up my alley, as I’m a humor writer who was already dismayed at what leftists have been doing to put the kibosh on laughs. The term “political correctness” came about to describe the way thoughts must be expressed to be acceptable in this day and time. It demands a lack of courage that pretty much spells death to comedy, which thrives not just on pushing the inside of the envelope but on ripping it open. Suffer through a few socially-approved evenings with Stephen Colbert or Trevor Noah and you’ll see immediately what I mean.

To set up my story, some months ago (hard to remember exactly), a man in my town who is on Nextdoor –- I’ll call him “Andy” –- started posting something he called “Laughter Of The Day.” The idea was that since we’re all dealing with covid, some of us stuck at home or even quarantined, he would send a few laughs in the way of corny “dad” jokes that, I assume, came mostly right out of an old joke book from the 1950s. They would be posted every week, and were always good for a groan, an eye-roll, or sometimes a big laugh out loud. Writing funny lines is my stock and trade --- you know that if you watch “In Case You Missed It” on the Governor’s TV show on TBN --- and I still loved his dated old wheezes.

His jokes were definitely NOT PC, though. There were “blonde” jokes (you know, about how dumb blondes are), “Little Johnny” jokes, jokes that made fun of everything. Some would call these jokes guilty pleasures, though to me they were as guilt-free as low-fat salad dressing.

Well, a few weeks ago, suddenly there were no more of Andy’s jokes. I thought he was probably just busy with other things. But this Sunday, somebody posted that he wondered if Andy was all right, as we hadn’t heard from him in a while. A number of neighbors chimed in, saying they were worried about him, too, and missed his jokes. But them someone wrote to say Andy was okay, just “in jail.” That means he’d been suspended from Nextdoor, totally locked out, not able to access the site at all. No reason given. More of Andy’s fans wrote in to post lots of those little red hearts, saying how much they loved Andy’s jokes and wanted him back.

My comment, though, was not little red hearts. It was more like, “What the hey? Andy doesn’t deserve to be ‘in jail.’ I want to know why Nextdoor did this. And I do not want to hear that it’s because of the jokes themselves. I do not want social media nannies telling us what we can and cannot laugh at.” I even said that, to me, “ND” stood for “Nanny Dearest.” (I had already been annoyed with ND for giving me screens asking, “Are you sure you want to publish this?” when I’d said something perfectly polite, accurate and well informed.)

On Monday, Andy was finally allowed (allowed!) to post again, and he put up another “Laughter Of The Day,” which I thought was his best ever.

Anyway, on Tuesday, when I tried to contact Andy through a PM (private message), I found that I myself couldn’t get into the site, at all. For most of the day, I was “locked out,” perhaps because of my diatribe against social media nanny-ism, but I don’t know for sure (because they don’t tell you). Later in the day, I was finally able to access the site and write to Andy. I suppose I’ll never know whether they locked me out deliberately or if it was just a weirdly coincidental computer glitch, but I don’t much care. This story is not about me, but rather what was done to Andy and his jokes.

Andy said he’d been working on setting up a group, just for the people who wanted to see his jokes. I told him this was the last straw for me and I was leaving Nextdoor. He said he was almost to that point himself.

I got this note from him on Tuesday:

“Laura. Just to let you know, I've already been reported for my post yesterday, over posting and for my Blonde jokes. So if they throw me in jail or delete me for good, it's been a pleasure.”

The worst thing about political correctness isn’t that easily-offended people don’t want to see the jokes --- it’s that they don’t want YOU to see the jokes. They don’t want YOU to be able to laugh at them.

I don’t know how far up the line the decision to take someone’s content off Nextdoor is made –- I would guess not very far –- but I went to their website to see who’s involved at the upper levels. To my surprise, Nextdoor is HUGE. Though it seems small and neighborly on your computer screen, it’s headed by people from all over the world. It’s based in San Francisco and, as of this March, is in 11 countries. It’s valued in the billions of dollars. Here’s a video I found called “The Story Of Nextdoor.”

It mentions problems arising from “moderators who are given significant power with very little training, if any, and can control the narrative of the town by censoring posts and making other people moderators with no accountability attached.” But the examples they give have to do specifically with racist content. The control they exert goes way beyond that.

Read some of the comments after the video, and you’ll see I'm not alone in saying Nextdoor is a place of censorship and progressive propaganda.

On their website, the “Neighborhood Vitality Advisory Board” includes “diverse academics and experts, in the fields of social psychology, equality and civic engagement.” Looking at the educational background and career focus of most of these participants, I imagine they’re far too “woke” to laugh at Andy’s “blonde” jokes. And I’ll bet they wouldn’t want you laughing at them, either.

I’ve had some good experiences with Nextdoor --- found some great service providers, and met someone who is now a dear friend. Social media wouldn’t be so pervasive in our lives if it didn’t provide benefits. But just like Facebook and Twitter, Nextdoor has anointed itself the arbiter of our conversations, controlling and shaping the narrative in ways both overt and subtle --- and that's nothing to laugh at.

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Comments 1-10 of 32

  • Michelle Clark

    02/07/2022 09:48 AM

    Dear Laura,
    We are new to a community and thought this sight might be good.
    My husband never completed the 'enrollment' as he saw what I did not. I tried to end my association with them but it was not a typical unsubscribe. I thought I would just delete the post as it came up on my feed. After your article, I am in communication with them on how to leave them totally. I hope they ask why. If I can't get off, I will use my logic and get 'blacklisted' each time until they force me off, which is what I want. Thank you for your good reporting. God bless America and may the right overcome this type of persecution!

  • Doug Arndt

    02/07/2022 09:40 AM

    I truly must apologize ... I've just sent two comments, the second accusing you of censoring my first comment ... only to finally figure out, the comment that I thought was censored, was actually a (very similar) comment I made back in 2021 !! After trying to figure out why my comment and a few others had such messed up dates, I scrolled back in the post, only to discover, this isn't a new post but a repeat from 2021 !! I wasn't looking at "censored" post, it hadn't been posted yet. I think I was tricked :-) well, surely confused.
    So ... after reading this, please DO delete my second and this posting !!

  • JER ZE

    02/07/2022 09:17 AM

    Laura, I am in Lexington ky and was on Nextdoor. It started out being a great site for your neighborhood. Then Nextdoor started blocking out people who would discuss. They would block people out from those you had different points of view. LET PEOPLE TALK! I love hearing different points of view. Then I got blocked out for my point of view. I got upset but so what. Not being computer literate, I could not see what I could do about it. We Americans need to stand up against all of this. Go get'em Laura! Everyone has a right to 'their' point of view. Right or wrong. That's what makes us America!

  • Doug Arndt

    02/07/2022 09:10 AM

    Having just posted a comment ... I find it very amazing to see just how much of my comment was censored, that tells me alot !

  • Doug Arndt

    02/07/2022 09:03 AM

    Back around early 2020, when the "flu" was starting to go around, but before the "pandemic" got going, I had been invited to join the NextDoor group. Came from a note left in my mailbox, very local. It seemed to be a very local set up. The participants were local, and the chit chat was just that. "What's that helicopter doing over the park" ... etc.
    Anyway, Dr Mercola and Andrew Saul had begun to write about how Vitamin C was very effective, so I posted a few links. Well ... the local "loud mouths" knew better (reminded me very much of "Animal House") and yep, a few days later, banned from the site. Censorship doesn't have to be "main stream", it's as close as your local neighbors. And, as it turns out, friends and family too.
    ps, I'm in Chicago -- maybe that says something !

  • tom jeffs

    02/07/2022 08:56 AM


    do you realize, Laura, that makes you more reliable than Mike ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    ask him to search my name in his database for lotsa times I've tried to get a message to him after I've established my bona fides which include:

    I was 1 of 4 "regulars" to the Huckabee Show in NYC per Jennifer Rhule - - - - - - -

    I'm a veteran of Israel Experience 2012 whom David H will probably remember - - - - - - -

    I'm the guy who donated all those red Huckabee45 polo shirts that he wore in Iowa when he ran for election to the White House; he proudly proclaims that run in his commercials these days but never mentions those shirts I donated - - - - - - -

    or are you like him in that you say you read comments but DON'T - - - - - - -

  • Elizabeth Denison

    02/07/2022 08:07 AM

    When Nextdoor first came out I joined and loved it! Connecting with neighbors, getting alerts of criminal or emergency events, and selling, buying, or donating items. But, unfortunately, it came to the forefront that it was just another social media platform run by a bunch of leftist bullies. Deleted the app.

  • Stephen F Sladaritz

    02/07/2022 07:55 AM

    I read your commentary posted by Mike Huckabee. His postings on my PC are a must, as are his daily bible verses. Until today, I did not even know that "Nextdoor" even existed. In the past, I had
    been on and off, and on again, off again, from Facebook. I gave up on them a long time ago. Needless to say, I will avoid "Nextdoor". Keep up the good work.

  • katie cesaro

    02/07/2022 03:37 AM

    This has been my experience as well. No negative comments about the Covid "vaccines" are allowed, deleted immediately. No negative comments about Biden or his ridiculous administration, either. Leftist comments and misinformation about masks, jabs, lockdowns, etc., get through just fine. People are commenting about the censorship, some even leaving, but the truth is, there's enough neighborhood information to make sticking around worthwhile (unfortunately). Too bad they don't let us tell the truth about what really matters!

  • Tina W

    02/07/2022 12:43 AM

    NextDoor used to be neighbors helping neighbors, recommending restaurants and selling things. I found some great freebies on there!
    Then the liberals happened. They just can't help themselves.
    The amount of hate on that site is atrocious. The admins are politi-hacks on power trips. It has turned into another network infested with ridiculousness.