For a long time, my roommate has been threatening to create a Yelp page for me, just so that he can give me a low rating on my cooking ability. Now he won’t have to do that, because a group of insane people have actually gotten together and made a Yelp for human beings, it’s an Android app called “Peeple.”
According to the Washington Post, this startup company has already raised $7.6 million in venture capital. Peeple, which lets anyone with a phone or Facebook account assign star ratings to other people whether they are signed up for the app or not, is still in its beta stage. So far the notion has received a largely negative response from social media.
If you are friends with someone on Facebook or know their cell phone number, you will be able to give that person a rating out of five stars in three different categories: personal, professional, and romantic. The creators of Peeple are marketing it as “a positivity app for positive people,” but many have expressed concerns regarding the already-rampant problem of online shaming. Some have even gone so far as to call it “an app for bullying.”
Co-founder Julia Cordray believes that Peeple’s “integrity features” will help nip such problems in the bud. These “integrity features” include a 21-and-up age limit, the fact that the reviews you post are publicly tied to your Facebook account, and that your Facebook account must be at least six months old. You must also affirm that you know the person, and if they aren’t in the database, you must provide Peeple with their phone number before posting a review. Any negative reviews you receive will have a 48-hour pending time during which you can dispute them.
If this doesn’t sound like a can of worms to you, I don’t know what would. The team, who call themselves “bold innovators” on their website, believe the app will be a way for underappreciated people to get the positive feedback they deserve. They’ve posted a kind of manifesto called “An Ode to Courage” on their front page in which they proclaim that they won’t apologize for the “big waves” they are making because “we love you enough to give you this gift.”
“You never tell people how great you really are,” they say in a documentary covering the app’s development, “but maybe the network that loves you would.” Just my two cents here, but maybe one of the traits of a great person is that they don’t need everyone to think they’re great.
In a totally unforeseeable twist of irony, Peeple temporarily set their Twitter account to Private during the peak hours of negative backlash not long after announcing the app. We only hope that they have learned something of how unforgiving the internet can be, and apply that to Peeple before official launch.