Peeple, a new mobile phone app, is causing uproar over its main feature: it allows you to rate people in the same way you may rate a restaurant on Yelp.
A creation of Julia Cordray (a Canadian marketer) and Nicole McCullough (a cofounder), Peeple allows you to assign a rating to everyone you know, ranging from one star to five.
Marketing materials for the app state:
“The Peeple app allows us to better choose who we hire, do business with, date, become our neighbours, roommates, landlords/tenants, and teach our children.
“There are endless reasons as to why we would want this reference check for the people around us.”
The service, which is currently in beta stage and will launch in full this November, requires users to be over 21 and have a Facebook account. Any review you make has to be under your real name, and cover three categories: romantic, professional and personal. Positive reviews are posted immediately, but a score of two stars or less is sent to the subject’s inbox. Both parties are then allowed two days to work out any differences before the review goes live.
Although users cannot delete reviews, each one will expire after 12 months as people have a capacity to “grow and change for the better”.
Speaking to the BBC regarding what impact Peeple could have on reputation management, Paul Bernal, a lecturer in law at East Anglia University, said:
“The bottom line is this is extremely creepy. It is an ideal trolling tool.
“How are you determining whether somebody knows somebody? If you’re using Facebook friends, do people really know all their Facebook friends? Absolutely not.”
A Facebook post made by the company last Wednesday revealed that the terms and conditions for using the app had not yet been set in stone.
More than 5,000 people had reportedly signed up for the service so far, and in a statement to the BBC, Cordray said:
“When the people found out that the Earth was round instead of flat and that we revolved around the Sun instead of the Sun revolving around us, naturally people were upset and confused and they pushed back with all that they had.”