Nightmare App of the Day: Peeple Will Allow Everyone to Review Everyone Like Amazon Products — This Should End Well
I can't see how this would go wrong at all.
Peeple, an app launching this November, will invite you to rate everyone else like there were restaurants on Yelp. 'Personally, professionally and romantically', founders Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough think it's going to provide a whole lot of benefit for letting you know who's in your life.
As their website says:
Peeple will enhance your online reputation for access to better quality networks, top job opportunities, and promote more informed decision making about people.
Authentic and relevant information about you and others you interact with is paramount to our vision for this app. Users will require a Facebook account to access the application, to verify and validate the minimum age requirement. To prevent multiple and fake profiles users will also need to validate that they are a real person with their cell phone number which will then text them a pin to login with.
Not everyone is liking this idea. For the obvious reasons you are thinking.
It began trending on Twitter Oct. 1 and the reactions were expected, but still pretty humorous.
In an interview with the creators, The Washington Post also had a pretty negative reaction to the harm the app could bring.
Where to even begin with those harms? There's no way such a rating could ever accurately reflect the person in question: Even putting issues of personality and subjectivity aside, all rating apps, from Yelp to Rate My Professor, have a demonstrated problem with self-selection. (The only people who leave reviews are the ones who love or hate the subject.)
...It's inherently invasive, even when complimentary. And it's objectifying and reductive in the manner of all online reviews. One does not have to stretch far to imagine the distress and anxiety that such a system would cause even a slightly self-conscious person; it's not merely the anxiety of being harassed or maligned on the platform — but of being watched and judged, at all times, by an objectifying gaze to which you did not consent.
The backlash has been felt by the creators (who are still getting publicity out of the bad press) and they wrote up this reply, which doesn't at all come off as smug and self-satisfied.
An Ode to Courage: Innovators are often put down because people are scared and they don't understand. We are bold innovators and sending big waves into motion and we will not apologize for that because we love you enough to give you this gift.
It is very much worth mentioning that the show Community had an episode dedicated to an app exactly like this. It was called Meow Meow Beenz. And it was hilarious.
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