As noted by Elle Hunt, the soon to be released Peeple app does seem to be straight from the ‘MeowMeowBeenz’ episode of American sitcom Community. The episode features the already questionably-run college turning into an extreme social hierarchy ruled by the elite five and four MeowMeowBeenz, who rule over the lesser twos and banished ones. Now, the world may not be as easily convinced as a whole to enforce a society based on human TripAdvisor ratings, but it may be a little naïve to say that popularity isn’t of some influence and won’t create some friction.
The app formerly gave users the opportunity to rate individuals they already know on the site’s database, or to create a profile for and rate an individual using their phone number. This was later modified so if someone doesn’t have the app themselves, their profile will only display positive ratings, i.e. three or above. However, the question of the morality of placing someone on a website without their consent remained.
What the app appeared to promote was questionable and appeared to go against the idea of it being a self-labelled: “positive app for positive people.” I guess one could get philosophical and argue that being positive is subjective, and perhaps rating a person as a one-star would be positive for them, but for the victim of this low rating, most likely not. This has, however, recently changed.
Julia Cordray, CEO and co-founder of Peeple, released a blog post on LinkedIn which both responded to claims that the app was a hoax (stating it was not), and provided an update on what could and could no longer be done with it:
“You will NOT be on our platform without your explicit permission. There is no 48 hour waiting period to remove negative comments. There is no way to even make negative comments.”
So someone can try to make a profile of you, but without your permission, it’s not going to be on Peeple. This arguably creates some complications, but fixes others. Firstly, we will not devolve into a society of ones and fives, and I am very pleased about that. What others may not be pleased about is what the original app was supposedly going to offer: the ability to insult someone by implying they are all-around lesser than somebody else. I feel that it is unnecessary to draw out the negatives in others, especially on such a large scale. That was most likely not Cordray’s intent, but let’s be honest, that was going to happen. There’s constructive criticism, and then there’s hate. I’m glad this has changed, and now agree with Cordray when she says that, “Peeple is a POSITIVE ONLY APP.”
I think Peeple sounds like an excellent idea. To aid someone in improving themselves with what I hope will be unbiased critique reinforced with a positive attitude is, in my opinion, the right way forward. I’m hoping to one day give Peeple a 5 out of 5.
Tell us what you think by tweeting us @TridentMediaUK using the hashtag #WePeeple.