Is This App the New Face of Online Bullying?

Genevieve Fish

The Internet is abuzz over something that hasn’t even launched yet, a controversial app called Peeple. Its MO? Yelp, but for humans. 

Julia Cordray, one of Peeple’s co-founders, told The Washington Post, “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?” Cordray sees her app as a way to showcase your character online—something she believes all people should want to do. Nicole McCullough, Cordray’s co-founder, has a different take on the app. “As a mother of two in an era when people don’t always know their neighbors, she wanted something to help her decide whom to trust with her kids.”

Our take? We understand McCullough’s concerns, but given the current climate of online bullying—particularly the bullying of adolescents and pre-teens online, we think it’s only a matter of time before this seemingly altruistic concept devolves into the perfect platform for negativity and name-calling. We can’t get over the lack of control users and nonusers have over their identity. Anyone can make a profile for anyone they know (or don’t know) so long as they have that person’s phone number. To make matters worse, negative reviews are removed only if they are reported for violating the terms of the site. Peeple is expected to launch sometime in November but already has a valuation of $7.6 million. 

Everyone from business leaders to celebrities is turning to Twitter to offer their take on the people-ranking platform. Chrissy Teigen wrote, “This is a real app. It needs not to be. #peeple.” T-Mobile CEO John Legere tweeted, “That #peeple app isn’t just a bad joke??! #yikes #nothanks.”

We want to know, would you use #peeple? Take the poll or comment below!

To read more about Peeple and its imminent release, visit The Washington Post.

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