I’m all for startups, new apps and new ideas. Startups are wonderful and just in case you haven’t noticed yet, we love startups on Irish Tech News. However, some ideas should just never exist and never even be ‘a thing.’
Peeple is a new app which is apparently due to launch in November (I say apparently because I am still trying to work out if the app is legitimate or if this is all some big marketing PR stunt) and the app is going to allow people to rate other people. Thats right, the app has been dubbed “Yelp for people” and is going to allow users to rate their friends, professional contacts and even romantic partners. Naturally the internet freaked out when it was announced.
Peeple’s founders are Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough and the app will supposedly allow users to rate on a star system from one to five stars. So how did people react when they heard about it? Well as you can imagine the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative and the app has been condemned as an invasion of privacy and an invitation to online harassment.
Initially the app would allow users to rate each other regardless of whether you had signed up for it or not, negative reviews would then be held for screening until you decided to sign up to the app. The backlash has been so intense that the company is already playing damage control and in a Facebook post they said:
“We hear you loud and clear, you want the option to opt in or opt out.”
Of course this has done nothing to stem the backlash and one Reddit user commented that, “This is not Yelp for people. This is a harassment tool for abusers.”
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) October 1, 2015
Even the founder of the Peeple app doesn’t like people giving their reviews and opinions on her app idea.
— Sharon O'Dea (@sharonodea) October 1, 2015
They couldn’t be more correct, an app of this nature is opening the gateway to trolls, bullies and online abusers. Cordray has already decided to change the fundamental approaches of the app and she took to LinkedIn to explain how she plans to make Peeple a “100 percent positive” app.
You will NOT be on our platform without your explicit permission. There is no 48 hour waiting period to remove negative comments. There is no way to even make negative comments. Simply stated, if you don’t explicitly say “approve recommendation”, it will not be visible on our platform.
So basically what we are left with now is a network of billboards and positive testimonials, because who the hell would want to approve a negative review of themselves anyway?
Why do we need this? What purpose does it actually serve? Cordray started with a bad idea and it has now morphed into something which is total unnecessary. She is clearly trying to fight the online backlash, even if they wanted to get noticed this is far from the correct way of doing it. You can go viral for all the wrong reasons too and no matter what she does with the Peeple app now it won’t be seen in a positive light.
More than likely we will see one of the loneliest social networks ever if this indeed is an app that is even in production. I’m skeptical of its existence until I actually see something more concrete. At the time of posting this article the Peeple Twitter account is currently unavailable and Cordray’s Facebook and LinkedIn are on lock down after the comments and negative response that has been coming her way.
The app creators have supplied a somewhat grainy photo of what seems to be a people review app, lets just hope its Photoshop magic.