Created by Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough, Peeple looks set to transform social media when it's released. And not in a good way.
As a general rule, we’d rather not write news stories to generate fear and make you quake in your Converse. But plans for a new app have been released, and it’s so horrifyingly horrible there’s nothing we can do but write about it. And cry.
Nope, we’re not being melodramatic. According to its founders, ‘Peeple’ is an app designed for rating (wait for it – you’ll never guess the answer)… people. And everything about it makes us feel faintly sick.
Of course you could rate your boyfriend, or your best mate. You could rate the nice man on the bus who gave you 50p when you lost your purse. You could rate your assistant at work when she makes you a nice cup of tea. All you need is a person’s name and a wifi connection, and you’re free to mark them five out of five, listing compliments as you go.
But here’s the problem: while you could rate your boyfriend or your best mate or your new friend from the bus, you can also rate the people you don’t like, too. You could rate the waitress who you think is rude – but who actually just got dumped by her boyfriend by text message two minutes before. You could rate the girl from Year Six who called you a swot and told you she didn’t want to hang out with you anymore – even though these days she’s a nurse with three kids and spends her evenings cooking for the homeless. You could rate your sister because she’s being a bit of an idiot at the moment, and you’d like her to get her act together.
And any of those people could rate you back.
In other words, this Peepl app is the equivalent of the Burn Book in Mean Girls. Only it’s a) not a book, b) not limited to one year group of an American high school, and c) a million times nastier.
Created by Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough, you can’t ‘opt out’ of Peeple – once somebody enters your name, it’s there for good. They reckon that 79 per cent of the time, you’ll only receive positive remarks. But that’s based on the fact that 79 per cent of reviews on Yelp are positive ones. And generally speaking, humans tend to have stronger feelings about other humans than they do about restaurants and hotel chains.
Of course, both Cordray and McCullough believe that their app should go ahead. ‘Bullying would never be tolerated in our app and would violate our terms and conditions,’ they wrote in a statement on their Facebook page. ‘Anyone reported or seen bullying will be promptly removed from the app… If you are someone that leaves more negative reviews than positive reviews you will not be taken seriously in our app due to the positivity rating that you will have (goes up for positive reviews, goes down when you make negative ones). This encourages users to be positive. Your overall star rating and positivity score is visible next to any comment you ever make in this app so we can assess your credibility in rating someone based on how you show up in this world.
‘We have not ruined anyone’s lives. The media does a good job of ruining lives and publicly shaming someone by not allowing a full picture of who the person was before they did something we didn’t approve of and how they showed up in the world after. We all deserve a second chance to do better next time. Our app will allow users to be their best selves and get some love and feedback to grow in the process.’
Set to launch in November, Peeple has reportedly been valued at over seven million dollars by Silicon Valley tech types, and certainly looks set to shake up the social media scene – if not in a good way.