Caution: You are about to enter a very judgmental zone. The new app Peeple has made its debut, and it’s like putting the entirety of the Mean Girls‘ burn book online. Described as “Yelp for people,” the app lets you rate and review literally anyone and everyone (provided they’re on the app), making each and every interaction you’ve ever had potential fodder for gossip, judgment, or worse.
Justifying the concept, Julia Cordray, one of the app’s founders, said, “People do so much research when they buy a car or make those kinds of decisions. Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?” Maybe because you can’t really hurt a car’s feelings.
The concept behind the app is simple (and not particularly novel — Lulu has long been known as “Yelp for men,” though they recently changed their policies so that only men who opt in are eligible for review following significant backlash for its original, no-holds-barred approach). But after announcing their plan to the tune of national outrage last year, Peeple’s actual launch has made them seem a little softer around the edges.
“People taught Peeple a valuable lesson,” the app’s creators noted, and a few changes have been made to make Peeple seem a little nicer. Rather than ratings, people will be giving and receiving “recommendations,” and instead of subjecting the whole world to potential Peeple abuse, now you’ll only be able to write about individuals who have signed up for the platform. And it won’t be a free for all, either — users will have the option to choose the recommendations they want displayed. So really, it’s turned into a big ego-stroking exercise, though that may still be significantly better than its original conception.
But don’t worry — if you were one of the people excited for the original version of Peeple, the creators say they’re planning on launching a premium feature next month they’re calling The Truth License. This will hearken more to the initial model — everything and anything you’ve said about other Peeple users will be made public, so be afraid. Be very afraid.
Remember when your mother told you not to say anything if you had nothing nice to say? That just went out the window.
Fundamental flaw with #Peeple: The only kind of people who would want to "rate" other people are the Exact people who shouldn't be able to.
— Rex Mundane (@RexMundane) October 1, 2015
There are, however, a number of things that Peeple will not let you say about others on their platform. As per their FAQ: “We do not tolerate profanity, bullying, health references, disability references, confidential information, mentioning other people in a rating that you are not currently writing a rating for, name calling, degrading comments, abuse, derogatory comments, sexual references, mention of confidential information, racism, legal references, hateful content, sexism, and other parameters in our terms and conditions.”
— Yukio Strachan (@boldandworthy) October 1, 2015
But still, despite this makeover, some people appear none too pleased. One Facebook commenter posted on the Peeple page, “I just read about this new App and it literally made me sick to my stomach. I will NEVER use this App!! It’s just another cheap platform that will inevitably create more cyber bullying!”
Wow, this #Peeple is utterly grotesque. It's like highschool cliques to the nth degree.
— Evilution (@_Evilution) October 1, 2015
So is it nicer than before? Maybe. Is it still problematic? You may have to judge for yourself.
Updated 03-07-2016 by Lulu Chang: Peeple app officially released on March 5. New details about the app have been added.