There's A Yelp For People — & Nobody's Happy About It

Photo: Courtesy Peeple.
An upcoming app called Peeple is Yelp-style rating, but for humans. And while its creators had good intentions, people are not happy about the app — for good reason.

Peeple, set to launch in November, lets you post reviews and one- to five-star ratings for other humans you meet in life. There's no way to opt out; if someone posts a review of you, there's nothing you can do. You can't delete bad reviews, either. According to The Washington Post, Peeple's founders, Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough, developed the app so people could quickly research other human beings and judge their integrity.

The app draws a striking resemblance to the dating app Lulu, a women-only social network where ladies can rate and review men — whether friends, ex-boyfriends, or current beaux. With Lulu, guys had no control over their reviews and ratings (and in fact, couldn't even see their Lulu status unless a female friend shared the app with them, or if they changed their Facebook status to "female" so they could join the app).

While there were certainly potentially nasty undertones with Lulu (giving someone a negative review after one interaction, or after a fight), its aim was clear: To help women stay safe by avoiding creepy or abusive dates. On the other hand, because Peeple — which touts itself as "a positivity app" — is so broad, so public, and doesn't let users opt out, it's raising a lot of security concerns.
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Curiously, even one of Peeple's founders isn't so keen on unsolicited comments on her product.
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Theoretically, not just any troll can post a review on Peeple. You have to be 21 or older, have a Facebook account, and post your review under your real name. You also have to classify how you know the person you're rating by listing the relationship as professional, personal, or romantic.

Assuming the best (that users won't abuse the service and bully others), there are still a thousand questions, and a thousand valid concerns, about having such a blanket rating system — and why it seems like a bad idea. What metrics make a human being deserve a four-star rating over three stars? Men and women are often evaluated by their peers based on completely different traits — how will that play out on a service like this? And does it matter if someone scores low as a friend or a partner if he or she is excellent professionally — or vice-versa? (Even the online reputation site Karma at least uses an algorithm to generate your trustworthiness score, and the service is completely opt-in.)

Peeple's website is currently down, but on Twitter and Peeple's Facebook page, there's an outpouring of negativity over the app. It would seem the public has given Peeple two big thumbs down. But, if it does launch as planned, you could still find yourself being rated and reviewed online, without your consent — which is decidedly not cool.
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