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Nextdoor, the hyper local social network, is seen on a computer screen inMarch 2020. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar is vowing to update the site's moderation policies and recruit more Black moderators after the hyperlocal social network came under fire for removing posts related to Black Lives Matter while tolerating racist messages, per NPR.

Why it matters: The service, where more than 265,000 U.S. neighborhoods swap roofer recommendations and lost-dog tips, is getting a hard lesson in the perils of content moderation that have dogged bigger social networks Facebook and Twitter.

What's happening: Nextdoor posts are moderated by volunteers. Friar told NPR the moderators were deleting posts about Black Lives Matter because they were following old guidelines that national issues shouldn't be discussed on the neighborhood forum.

  • Those rules have been updated to explicitly allow conversations about racial inequality and Black Lives Matter, Friar said.

Details: Nextdoor is planning to offer bias training to moderators, trying to recruit more Black moderators, and increasing removal of racial profiling posts. Friar also told NPR that its artificial intelligence-driven moderation tools are being tweaked to detect racist posts.

  • In June, Nextdoor pulled its controversial "Forward to Police" feature that lets users send posts directly to local police. There have long been concerns that the tool aided racial profiling by prejudiced users, per Engadget.
  • Nextdoor has also been criticized for its cozy relationships with police departments.

Our thought bubble: National conversations are inherently local. Nextdoor's hyperlocal nature has the potential to foster much-needed dialogue about racial inequality on a more personal level, especially during the pandemic, when neighbors aren't able to physically gather.

Go deeper

Instagram morphs into an information powerhouse

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Instagram is in the midst of a transformation — what was once the place to share photos of food and social outings is quickly becoming a hub for information and advocacy.

Why it matters: Text, infographics and topical illustrations are exploding on Instagram as the pandemic and racial justice movement brought purpose and focus to its millions of users, supercharging the urgency to get educated and share useful information.

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.