• United States



Beginning of the end for the Peeple app?

Oct 04, 20154 mins
Data and Information SecurityEnterprise ApplicationsSecurity

The Twitter account and Facebook page for the creepy Peeple app went poof. Hopefully it was a giant hoax or is dying before the people rating service can start ruining the lives of people.

Rage on, Internet, and the Peeple app may die before it can even be launched.

The Washington Post reported:

When the app does launch, probably in late November, you will be able to assign reviews and one- to five-star ratings to everyone you know: your exes, your co-workers, the old guy who lives next door. You can’t opt out — once someone puts your name in the Peeple system, it’s there unless you violate the site’s terms of service. And you can’t delete bad or biased reviews — that would defeat the whole purpose.

“People do so much research when they buy a car or make those kinds of decisions,” said Julia Cordray, one of the app’s founders. “Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?”

Cofounder Julia Cordray was upset that the Internet was slandering her over the “slander app.” She removed an “offending post” from a Facebook page for the Peeple app. The Facebook page has experienced issues with all the traffic, but it seems like it might be gone.

Peeple facebook page poofed

Reddit comments followed the wrath of the Internet path; since Facebook and Twitter pages went poof, another Redditor asked, “Please please please answer: how can you reconcile shutting out semi-solicited comments about yourself while building an app that is about hosting 100% unsolicited comments about other people?”

Now the Peeple app Facebook page can only be accessed via cached versions, as visitors are met with a content not available message. The app’s Twitter account was deleted.

Peeple app Twitter and Facebook disappearing act

Was it one giant hoax? There is speculation that it might be, although Cordray vows that the project is real. After Snopes looked into the veracity of Peeple, it reported that neither McCullogh nor Cordray seem to have “any relevant background in app building.” Although “it’s possible the pair hired a development team through their modest and recent purported venture funding,” an “app of the scale they described seemed unlikely to materialize in the 90-day timeframe cited by their YouTube videos.”

It is naïve beyond belief to believe Peeple is an app for “positivity.”

It’s not the first time a data broker pushed forward with a bad idea; creepy Spokeo can ransack your privacy and wreck your life with inaccurate information. The site didn’t die even after the FTC was alarmed enough to probe Spokeo over abuse of privacy.

Peeple Cofounder Nicole McCullough wanted help finding a babysitter, someone she could “trust” with her kids. But there have long been many flavors of sites to help find babysitters. Yelp, Zagat, and TripAdvisor let people rate and comment upon other individual people, and LinkedIn lets you validate the skill of others; Forbes added that “crowdsourcing already exists for some professions – HealthGrades for doctors, LawyerRatingz for lawyers, and RateMyProfessors for university professors, for example.” There are numerous such sites, but the Peeple app could have a “huge impact” on your professional reputation. And definitely on your privacy.

Let the people decide about Peeple app

Deleted tweets claimed there were 100 people per minute signing up to be beta testers. Another tweet claimed it would be up to the people to decide what the Peeple app would become. Well, if that’s true, it doesn’t take but a second to realize the whole concept behind a “Yelp for people” is a horrendous idea. Yelp seems to have taken exception to the comparison and tweeted that there is no affiliation.

Peeple damaging other brands

Peeple has already ruined lives, or at least brands. Chris Chuter was happy about his Peephole product, an “Internet-enabled peephole that lets you peer at your phone to see who’s at your door.” His Peeple brand was hijacked and he has been bombarded with hateful tweets, as people mistakenly think his @Peeple Twitter name is related to the Peeple app. What was supposed to be his “moment in the sun” has potentially turned into being shot down in flames.

Maybe the Peeple app was just an idea? An idea could be that everyone should have a money tree, but that doesn’t mean it will become a real thing. The Peeple FAQ reads like it wasn’t thought through at all in any real way, such as how it could truly ruin lives, lead to bullying, and potentially to suicides of those bullied.

@PeopleAgainstPeeple asked if the new Twitter account @peeplereviewapp is a real account after it tweeted that “Peeple needs a new name” and asked for suggestions. It might just be an account for trolling, but if Peeple’s creators can’t stand up to criticism on Facebook or Twitter, then maybe it is the beginning of the end for the wretched app-to-be?

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.