A new app has been blowing up on the internet due to its controversial implications. Dubbed “yelp for people” the app is named Peeple and allows users to provide non-instigated reviews of people who they have been in contact with, whether they’re friends, family or co-workers. Even without the fairly unpleasant Orwellian vibe that this app gives off, there are major implications in allowing others to compile a list of reviews for another human being in one place, mainly touching upon the possible non-consensual nature of posting personal information about someone else for anyone to see. Whether or not this comes down to a problem regarding free speech is something that we as a society will have to decide.
Since this issue went viral, Peeple websites and their social media presence went offline, likely due to the immediate backlash that the app garnered once it was announced. After that one of the co-creators Julia Cordray, pictured above, released a message over her LinkedIn profile that detailed how she’d been targeted with death threats and insulting comments since the announcement of the app. In this message, she outlined how they had now changed the function of Peeple, so that it will be an entirely opt-in based system that will only allow positive reviews of other people.
Many have been quick to point our the irony that Cordray is describing the situation she has been through in the public eye as unpleasant after proposing and creating an app that would allow people to do the exact same thing to others. That being said, now the app will only allow positive reviews and will be an entirely opt-in system, I can’t really see Peeple going anyway. What need do we have for an app that allows you to make positive comments about people who are already a part of that app? They’ve essentially turned it into a social media system that only allows you to compliment other who are part of the system and take a look at what other compliments they have already received. While I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea of an app that could lead to levels of bullying or even vigilante justice based on hearsay or personal vendettas, the new idea of the Peeple is practically useless. Don’t be surprised if upon its release, the app is a complete flop that will gain a small amount of followers if only due to the curiosity drummed up through the controversy.