Amazon-owned Ring is poised to ask the users of Neighbors, its neighborhood watch app, to be a little more neighborly before posting or commenting.
Ring says it will be rolling out a “Good Neighbor Agreement” to the Neighbors app starting today that will encourage users to “communicate in positive and uplifting ways.”
The agreement, which Neighbors users will be required to accept before posting or commenting on the app, also condemns “victim shaming, trolling, and prejudiced statements.”
The new agreement asks Neighbors users to remember that “these are your real neighbors,” while also encouraging users to “stay on topic,” “show compassion,” “give people the benefit of the doubt,” and to consider “how your words will be interpreted.”
The agreement also requests that users think about “any bias you may have” as well as to “say something if you see someone expressing wrongful bias.”
Users won’t be able to post or comment on Neighbors until they’ve clicked a blue “I Agree” button at the bottom of the agreement.
The Good Neighbor Agreement is yet another attempt by Ring to rehabilitate the reputation of Neighbors, an app that’s seen a raft of bad headlines over the past few years.
From controversial video-sharing partnerships with local police departments to neighbors who snitch on each other or report “suspicious” passersby who happen to be people of color, the Neighbors app has become as notorious as it is helpful when it comes to keeping an eye on the block.
Earlier this year, Ring announced that it would require police and other public safety agencies to make publicly available any requests they made for information or videos from the Neighbors app.
Ring also rolled out a Control Center dashboard for the Ring app in 2020 that allows users to opt out of video requests from law enforcement, as well as making it clear when police are participating in a given Ring Neighborhood.
Another new Neighbors feature introduced in 2020 was a “Neighborly Moments” category that lets users highlight a good thing that one neighbor did for another.
Alongside today’s Good Neighbor Agreement announcement (which precedes National Good Neighbor Day on September 28), Ring is touting a new “Better Neighborhoods” tile in the Neighbors app that’s intended to inspire users to “get involved in their communities.”
The tile points to organizations such as the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, The United Way, and Hollaback, making it easy for users to “get involved in their communities” by donating or volunteering.
Finally, Ring announced RingCares, an initiative that supports local community organizations that are “making an impact” in the neighborhoods where Ring employees live and work.
Updated shortly after publication to note that the new tile in the Neighbors app is called "Better Neighborhoods," not "Better Neighbors."