IF YOU have ever done anything wrong by anyone, a new friend/colleague/acquaintance-rating app could be the most nightmarish thing to hit the internet — and it could potentially ruin you.
It’s a sort of Yelp YELP, for people, but it is also being touted as an app that could destroy people’s lives.
Built by two best friends in 90 days, the app is described on its website, forthepeeple.com, as a “positivity app for positive people that allows you to rate and be rated in the following three Categories: Professionally, Personally, and Dating.
“By joining our community you can be seen by the people that know you, and rate and be rated by that community.”
Peeple’s founders claim glowing comments by people you know will help users with networking, interact with other singles and “have the ability to search others to make better decisions around your greatest assets such as your family.”
But on Twitter and other social media outlets, outrage has been building over what many see as a vehicle for harassment and bullying.
On the frequently-asked-questions portion of the website, Peeple’s founders say it won’t allow users to engage in profanity, bullying, make health or disability references or any sort of abuse or sexism.
The website’s FAQ says Peeple’s members should approach the app in the same manner as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. If you aren’t sure of what you’re about to say, “instead say something positive to help lift someone up.”
The app is getting shopped around to Silicon Valley venture capitalists and other potential investors, according to The Washington Post, which interviewed co-founder Julia Cordray. The other co-founder was identified as Nicole McCullough.
Ms Cordray told the Washington Post, “People do so much research when they buy a car or make those kinds of decisions. Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?”
One complaint raised on Twitter and elsewhere is that you cannot remove yourself from Peeple — your profile can be added by someone else, according to the FAQ. (But someone can only write about you if he or she has your cellphone number, if that’s any consolation.)
Nor can you delete any comments made about you, according to the FAQ.
Peeple’s creators posted on their Facebook page Thursday morning that they can no longer respond to all the comments that have come through on the page. Here’s one, from Valerie J. Jackson: “I have been reading comments on your posts for about 10 minutes now and have not seen ONE positive review. Pay attention to the red flags. Your business idea scares the heck out of me.”
In an opinion piece on the New York Post Kyle Smith said whether you like it or not, someone would be able to form a profile of you, and then it was open season for anyone you’ve ever known.
“Ever been nasty to someone? It’s payback time.
“Anyone who has ever read the comments section of a news story, especially an opinion piece, will have noticed that people who take the trouble to write down their thoughts for public delectation are a special breed.
“They tend to be attached to broken logic, ad hominem cruelty and free-floating rage.
“Those who bother to rate you on Peeple are likely to be those who have a strong enough opinion to bother to log on, i.e., they hate you, and those who hate you most are likely to be people with whom you’ve had ill-fated romantic encounters,” he said.
“Being an ordinary, friendly, well-adjusted human being is not going to cause people to give you five stars. If you didn’t make an impression, why bother rating you?”
“And how long will it be, one wonders, before we hear of the first “Peeple Suicide” committed by someone who didn’t enjoy being subjected to public humiliation?
There is, he says, just one saving grace.
“We’re told users will have to sign in under their own real names, so the shield of anonymity that leads to so much boorishness in the comments sections will be removed. If you want to trash someone, they can trash you right back,” he said.