There's a new app out there called "Peeple," and it's causing quite a bit of buzz. Mostly, negative. It has been called
everything from a terrifying
Yelp for people to the worst idea in the history of the Internet. Some
insist it has to be a hoax.
The basic concept of Peeple
is that users can review others professionally, personally or
romantically, using a rating scale of one-to-five stars. The person being
rated can do nothing to stop it.
The app's founders claim users
must be at least 21, have an established Facebook accounts and use their real
names. In order to post a review, a user must also have a cell phone number for
the individual being rated.
They also insist, "Peeple is a positive
only app. We want to bring positivity and kindness to the world."
Absolutely no one bought it. Not even a little bit.
The Internet exploded with people pointing out the holes
in the plan and the potentially negative—and seemingly obvious—impact
the app could have. Given how much the Internet has demonstrated
its ability to bring out the absolute worst in human nature, concern
over the app's potential is warranted.
One group that knows all too well how technology is used to sling vitriol is moms. The Internet has become a space where women regularly, and relentlessly, attack each other over every single aspect of parenting.
How might that transfer to this new app?
Will some use it to attack, bully and defame others? There can be no doubt.
Let's imagine, for a moment,
a neighbor witnesses a less than stellar parenting moment in your front yard.
What if that person decided to rate you personally, and publicly, on Peeple?
Giving an account of what she had seen and attacking your character? Or another mom didn't care
for the way your child behaved at her child's birthday party and decided to
take out her frustrations via the app?
What if a fellow member of
the PTA was upset you didn't support her position on an issue and wanted to
make sure everyone knew where you stand?
Let's be real; those are
pretty tame examples compared to what most of us have seen online.
And that's just the tip of the
proverbial iceberg. What if teens start to use the app? Even with a stated minimum
age of 21, kids find ways around the rules of social media sites and apps.
Should moms be concerned about that? We have all seen the power technology has given people to destroy lives.
Will people use this app for
its stated intended purpose? Possibly. Will some use it to attack, bully and defame others? There can be no doubt. And
the creators seem completely clueless about that.
One of the founders of
Peeple, Nicole McCullough, is a mom. She
claims she likes the idea of an app that could help her decide whom to trust
with her kids. Her partner insists their motives are entirely altruistic. "As
two empathetic, female entrepreneurs in the tech space, we want to spread love
and positivity," Julia Cordray said in an interview. "We want to operate
I want to believe these two women are really
that naïve. Because then I could possibly relate.
Four years later I limped away from my project, "The Mom Pledge," having been exposed far too many times to the ugly side of human nature and feeling I had made no impact whatsoever.
Not long after I began blogging and interacting
with others via social media, I was exposed to dark underbelly of the Internet.
And I wanted to do something about it, to try to make a positive difference.
Four years later I limped away from my project,
"The Mom Pledge," having been exposed far too many times to the ugly side of
human nature and feeling I had made no impact whatsoever. I watched helplessly
from the sidelines as moms continued to attack one another online.
In the days following Peeple's introduction, Cordray
and McCullough witnessed and participated in everything that has the potential
to go wrong with their app. After deleting negative
comments on their Facebook page, threatening critics on Twitter, blocking
anyone who criticized them and ironically serving
as the perfect example of why people were raising concerns about their
creation, the founders attempted to erase its online presence.