A New York woman is none too happy with the social media site Nextdoor after claiming the company “hacked” her name to advertise its services.
Columbia County resident Celeste Alexander, of Ghent, recently discovered that Nextdoor has been sending out letters to her neighbors, inviting them to join the site, according to a post in the Facebook group Chatham New York Community Board.
The letters appear to come directly from Alexander and are signed, “Your neighbor, Celeste Alexander.” They also mention what street she lives on.
“I did not send letters and I didn’t authorize the use of my name,” Alexander said. “I noticed that letters are going out from other neighbors as well as this is a large ‘hacking’ venture.”
It turns out, however, that Alexander’s account was not actually hacked.
When users first sign up for the hyperlocal social platform, they are asked if they’d like to send mailed invitations to their neighborhood.
The printed invitations contain the name and street name of the sender “so that your neighbors know who this invitation is from,” reads the company’s website.
“Thriving communities are built by extending our hands to those neighbors we may not know and inviting them to build a stronger community together.”
According to Nextdoor, up to 150 of such invitations may continue going out on a user's behalf as long as the setting is activated.
For users who do not wish for invitations to go out in their name, the solution is pretty straightforward.
“By going into Privacy Settings, under the Invitation Letters section, you can toggle between allowing or not allowing Nextdoor to mail letters on your behalf,” reads the website.
“This setting defaults to opt-out and is only set to opt-in when you confirm when you first join or when you send invitations.”
Nextdoor was founded in San Francisco in 2008. It has since grown to more than 58 million users in 11 countries.
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