Pointing to a few gross simplicity of forethought, or simply a desire for information about potential babysitters that trumps all notions of decency or privacy, Cordray and McCullough suggest that their app won’t cause harm, and it’s just a mode of researching the people in your life. “Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?” said Julia Cordray, one of the app’s founders.
Next up is “Peeple”, which lets you assign ratings to anyone and everyone you meet.
“The Peeple website promises that the app will, “…enhance your online reputation for access to better quality networks, top job opportunities, and promote more informed decision making about people”.
The Washington Post also correctly notes that even in the hypothetical instance of positive reviews, the app is still “inherently invasive”. In order to make that plan actually work (this is the internet, after all), Peeple queues negative ratings for 48 hours in case of a dispute, while positive reviews post immediately. (The only people who leave reviews are the ones who love or hate the subject.) In fact, as repeat studies of Rate My Professor have shown, ratings typically reflect the biases of the reviewer more than they do the actual skills of the teacher: On RMP, professors whom students consider attractive are way more likely to be given high ratings, and men and women are evaluated on totally different traits. “We want to operate with thoughtfulness”. Additionally, Peeple blessedly won’t allow users to post profanity, sexist comments, or anything concerning personal health conditions.
In an age in which you can write reviews of your bus line and join a dating app exclusively for the tech and business elite, it only stands to reason that someone would come up with a review site for people.
Indeed, so much is the idea loathed that people are even wondering whether it’s real.
If you are also wary or flat out disgusted by Peeple, you’re not alone. If beta testers demand an opt-out feature, she’ll delay the launch date and add that in.
But Peeple reminds us of something else, too… “All that matters is what people say about us”.
Security: Who knows? We’re merely promised that the data will be stored in a secured Mongo database in the cloud.