You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
Dear founders of Peeple: we don't need a 'Yelp for Humans'

Dear founders of Peeple: we don't need a 'Yelp for Humans'

October 1, 2015

A new piece of social software is coming to iOS in November, and it just might be the most horrible use of App Store space I have ever heard of. You might have read about it, since it’s trending all over the Internet right now. Peeple, also dubbed “Yelp for humans,” is described as a “positivity app,” but I fear its use will be much more nefarious than that.

Peeple will allow users to search for and rate human beings in much the same way we review restaurants, hotels, and car services. Users of the app will be able to add virtually anybody to the service, and there is no way to opt out of having reviews posted about you once you’re there. Whether it’s a friend, coworker, date, neighbor, or anybody else, the invasive nature of this app will leave anybody and everybody open to becoming part of a virtual “Burn Book,” like from the movie “Mean Girls.”

The app is founded by Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough, and I wonder how open the two women would be to having people they might have slighted post negative reviews about them? All you would need is the person’s cellular telephone number to start a new profile for them and begin the process of raising them up or, given the negativity prevalent in the anonymity of the Internet these days, do the more likely act of slamming them to the ground.

Peeple’s founders claim to have systems in place to combat bullying, but how effective will those processes be? According to Peeple’s founders via their Facebook page, the website’s frequently asked questions page addresses how bullying will be handled, but the server is apparently so overwhelmed with traffic that it would not respond to my attempts to view it. Mashable does quote part of it, though, referring to a 48-hour hold on negative comments:

“They simply go into the inbox of the person who got the negative review and then are given a chance to work it out with the person who wrote the review,” according to Peeple’s website. “If you can’t work it out with the person, you can publicly defend yourself by commenting on the negative review.”

What that says to me is that a negative review will be available for everyone to see and comment on, except for anybody who disagrees with that review, for as long as 48 hours. That means it would take at least two days for the recipient of a negative review to be able to defend themselves. That sounds to me like promoting bullying, not preventing it.