Peeple, which has actually been described as “Yelp for human beings,” is designed to let you grade and rank every one that you know – your family, your colleagues, your exes – as well as those that you don’t really know that well, like the gym buddy you only see once a week or that close friend you had in high school that you haven’t talked to in years.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 2, 2015
The app is the brainchild of Nicole McCullough and Julia Cordray, with the latter likening the app to the process one goes through when researching about a car model or a new phone. According to Cordray, people spend a large amount of time doing research when buying a car, so “why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?”
According to Peeple’s website, the app will let you rate people, on a scale of one to five, natch, and leave a comment about them.
The app hasn’t launched yet but is expected to roll out in November. For those who can’t wait to start reducing human beings to mere numbers, you have to join the app first via Facebook using your real name. There is an age requirement of 21 years in order to sign up, after you will be required to declare how you know the person based on the app’s three available categories – dating, personal, and professional – and only then can you start rating. Plus, every comment (or review, if we’re being crass about it) that is made about the person is published using your real name.
If the person you want to rate is not in this database yet, you can add him/her using his/her cell phone number. Unfortunately for those who have no intention of joining Peeple, the option to decline the addition is not available. The developers, for some reason, designed the app so that once your name is in the system, you can’t opt out.
Cordray and McCullough describe Peeple as something that will “revolutionize the way we’re seen in the world through our relationships.” But instead of a revolution, the app has caused revulsion, as people describe Peeple as invasive and irresponsible, believing it can lead to bullying, harassment and public shaming.
Studies have shown that review sites tend to be used more often by those who feel angry or biased as opposed to those who really want to leave honest and positive feedback. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that Peeple can quickly be used in a way that pushes false information or bias-oriented comments.
Cordray does not seem to believe that the app will lead to these negative outcomes. The Career Fox founder told the Washington Post that as she and her partner are “two empathetic, female entrepreneurs in the tech space,” and they “want to spread love and positivity.”
To that end, Peeple reportedly has checks and balances that will prevent harassment, like limiting review-posting access only to verified Facebook users who are over 21 (because obviously, no one can make a very realistic dummy FB account) and requiring Peeple users to use their real identities when post.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) October 1, 2015
The app also has a “negative” ratings queue, in which such ratings are kept on hold for 48 hours, apparently to give the ratee a chance to work things out and settle those “disputes” with the rater.
But what about those who didn’t sign up for Peeple but have been effectively hijacked by their no-opting-out system? Well, only positive reviews will be seen in the profile of those unregistered users.
Peeple allegedly has a list of behaviors that are not allowed on the site either, such as using profanity or talking about the state of a person’s health. It also claims to have measures in place that will prevent bullying, but there’s no mention of what those are.
There are so many things inherently wrong with Peeple. The issue of consent aside, there’s that fundamental evil-ness of relegating humans to mere data, all in the name of “feedback.”
[Image via Facebook]