It's called Peeple. And it's scary.
Are you ready to be reviewed by your boss and significant other?
Apple iPhone owners can now download Peeple, a long-awaited app that lets users rate other people’s characters in three distinct areas: “Professional,” “Personal,” and “Dating.” Users can leave positive, neutral, or negative ratings, and then write a detailed description.
“We are a concept that has never been done before in a digital space. We want character to be a new form of currency,” the app’s developer Peep wrote in its App Store description. “Peeple will provide you a safe place to manage your online reputation while protecting your greatest assets by making better decisions about the people around you.”
While Peep tries to put a positive spin on what its app offers, Peeple, which was unveiled in September and has been called “Yelp for People,” may be cause for concern in a world where cyberbullying is all-too-common.
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Peep sees its app as a place where people can showcase their finer qualities. However, the app could also be home to unfair and unflattering criticisms that could have an unfortunate impact on users’ lives.
For instance, a negative rating from a boss, coupled with a description on why you’re a bad employee, could mean the difference between getting the next job or remaining unemployed. Recommendations can be shared via social media or over text and email, and profiles can be “liked” and viewed by other Peeple users. So, if you allow negative reviews on your profile, they could be shared with more than just Peeple users.
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For its part, Peep says that it has several safeguards in place that would help avoid some of those concerns. For one, only people who create Peeple accounts can be reviewed. In addition, users can decide whether reviews are shared publicly. So, if your boss feels compelled to say something negative about you, only you can allow it to go public. Still, it can’t be nice to see that a former boss or significant other has negative things to say about you.
Peep has also developed rules that explicitly bans certain content including bullying, derogatory commentary, and “sexual references.” Anyone found violating the policy can have their access to the app revoked.
While those controls could prevent bullying, Peeple also runs the risk of becoming a utopian environment that is filled with users who wipe clean anything negative someone might say and keep only positive comments. The “reviews,” therefore, could mean little.
At this point, Peeple is a very big question mark with potentially major implications—both good and bad. Peep says its app is all about positivity. But as time goes on and people get their hands on Peeple, we’ll find out for sure.
Peeple is available starting on Monday in Apple’s App Store as a free download. It’s expected to reach Android devices sometime this year.