The neighborhood social media platform Nextdoor plans to go public at a valuation of around $4.3 billion. Its shares will be traded under the ticker symbol “KIND”; part of the company’s mission, it says, is to cultivate kindness. But the platform has struggled to deal with racist speech and the spread of misinformation.

Data Science Institute associate research scholar Susan McGregor discussed Nextdoor’s challenges with the Marketplace Tech podcast. She noted that even though people may know one another on the platform, it doesn’t necessarily make them nicer.

One thing we know is that people are just as mean when they are posting under their real names as when they are not. Unfortunately too though, there’s also this problem of misinformation, and one of the things that we know about misinformation is that very often the credence that we give to information has to do with who we get it from. So, in that sense, a platform like Nextdoor can be a real breeding ground for misinformation, precisely because the people that we’re hearing from, we feel we know them, we trust them and we give more credence to the information they’re sharing than we would if we encountered it in another context.”

LISTEN: What does it take to get people to be kind online?