Peeple is being touted as the Yelp for people, the app that lets you review other people without their consent.
How it works:
The app, founded by Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough, will be available only on iOS devices in November. It’s already had thousands sign up to be beta testers, according to a post on the Peeple Facebook page (link deactivated).
In order to post a review, users have to be 21 or older with an active Facebook account. Reviews must be made under a person’s own name, and a user must indicate how they know the person they will review in one of three categories: Personal, professional or romantic.
Anyone who has access to someone’s cellphone number can start a new profile for them on the site. The person will receive a text informing them who started their profile and “that they should check out what you said about them on our app.” The FAQ’s make no mention of how the site will check on the validity of the number provided.
Once someone is added, anyone on Peeple can weigh in on his or her merits as a person.
“People do so much research when they buy a car or make those kinds of decisions,” said Cordray told the Washington Post. “Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?”
Why it shouldn’t work.
Why not treat people as you would a used car, Ms. Cordray? Glad you asked (although I’m surprised that anyone above majority age requires that clarification). To an experienced investigator, one thing is absolutely certain and that is that the assessment of human beings is always subjective. We’re not products such as vehicles or homes or services provided by telecoms or restaurants with defined market values and traceable and trackable basic maintenance/service records.
I find the Peeple app kinda creepy based solely on this comparison to wholly inanimate objects or unique human interactions. It sounds basically like a mean girls club in the formative phase.
But then we come to the actual purpose of the app – to dish about other people and rate them. To the first, Ms. Cordray claims to have “integrity features” such as disallowing: shaming and bullying, profanity, listing of private health issues and sexist comments. (As to the last item, are the two female founders anticipating an overwhelming amount of bitchy verbal clawing among women? Why single out that -ism? Perhaps this really is Yelp for and by Mean Girls.) That aside, unless the task of discerning intent and meaning in language is relegated to English profs, the average “internet content assessor” is a woefully inadequate arbiter of phraseology. E.g.,: “In this age of overwhelming grooming options, I find Mark Jones’ raw appreciation for an au naturel existence incredibly eye-opening!” Translation: “This guy stinks to high hell and makes my eyes bleed!” See? Seriously, ladies, as an English Second Languag’er even I can scoot past your language police. As to the latter, rating people/assigning them numbers, Ugh. Humanity doesn’t need a rating system; softer filters, perhaps.
What is wrong with this app.
- Personal safety. Every prosecution involving this app will begin with, “Was the assault foreseeable?” Yes.
- Legal. Consent, bias, accuracy??
- Raison d’etre. Not a one. How can this not hurt thousands, if not millions, of people who are simply living their imperfect, human lives? Heck, I’ve already p.o.’s the two app founders and they haven’t even met me. Yet.
Safety first, Peeple people.
BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.
As always, be safe.