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Nextdoor debuts OpenAI’s ChatGPT-powered “Assistant” functionality.

Photo: Nextdoor

On Tuesday, Nextdoor revealed generative AI-powered features. Most significantly, Nextdoor adds an “Assistant” function to assist users in producing better postings. OpenAI’s ChatGPT powers the new Assistant feature being tested with select users.

The Assistant helps users produce community-engaging content. For example, users will get a refreshed recommendation when making a new post. The Assistant will also suggest ways to soften potentially hurtful comments.

“With ChatGPT launching in November, we saw an opportunity to train ChatGPT technology on top of our proprietary local knowledge to create something we think really helps users create a more engaging post,” Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar told TechCrunch in an interview. “We’re giving you an assistant that says ‘Hey neighbor, would you like to rephrase or reword this post to have more neighbors comment and react to it.’ It helps you publish and engage your neighborhood.”

Nextdoor’s “Kindness Reminder” reminds members of the community standards and lets them reflect on possibly hurtful posts. In addition, Nextdoor’s new Assistant will help users make nicer messages. For example, your comment angrily on a neighbor about adding speed bumps to your area. The Assistant will rewrite your post to make it balanced and constructive.

Nextdoor says the new generative AI technologies analyze discussion topics and context to produce more tailored and relevant information. Thus, Nextdoor can better target local news, events, and activities to users.

Friar said Nextdoor’s launch prioritizes safety, stressing that users don’t have to utilize the new features. Instead, you can publish as you like while following the platform’s community norms without accepting the Assistant’s advice.

Nextdoor tested the new capabilities with 25% of its users and is rolling them out today, but it won’t make them available to all users immediately. Friar said Nextdoor would test the features and ensure safe deployment before making them available. The features will ultimately reach everyone in the US and Nextdoor’s other regions.

“We’ll watch to make sure there aren’t unforeseen consequences, and of course be accountable,” Friar added. “We’ll keep moving at the right pace to do it right. Any new technology raises concerns, but we want to make AI accessible to everyone. Everyone should know how this technology may improve their lives.”

Nextdoor’s Head of AI, Qi He, who joined the firm last year after eight years at LinkedIn, is developing a generative AI team to test additional models. In addition, the dedicated team will hire product leaders and engineers to improve AI throughout the platform.

Nextdoor added community-building elements and new profiles last year. After years of racial profiling, Nextdoor released features, and the CEO resigned. As a result, Nextdoor was revamped to build a pleasant neighborhood online and offline.

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