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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Controversial New App Rates People

The new app Peeple is causing uproar and criticism. 

Ratings apps like Yelp have grown in popularity, but the newest app has raised a lot of concern in a small amount of time. Peeple brings professional, personal and romantic ratings under one roof. The app is set to launch in November and although it could undergo changes before its full release it has already prompted some people to question its motives. 

The Internet has deemed it a “Yelp for people,” although Yelp took to Twitter to confirm it is not involved with this new app. Many celebrities also shared their reactions via Twitter. 

(Mara Wilson Twitter)
(Mara Wilson Twitter)

Some millennials with a social media presence are also wary about this new app, some saying that they don’t see a purpose for linking business with leisure. 

“Honestly, it sounds pretty superficial and antisocial,” said USC student Daniel Philips. Phillips added that he wouldn’t use an app like this. 

But the biggest concern of many is that you can be added to the app without your consent. Users can provide Peeple with a phone number of a person who is not currently on the app and a profile or account is automatically created for them. 

The app will send you a notification via text message to inform you that a user has created a profile for you. Peeple will only post positive reviews for those who have not opted into the service. There is no opt-out option at the moment but if beta-testers feel that this is an integral piece missing from the app creator Julia Cordray told the Washington Post she’ll add it in before launching to a wider audience. 

Some USC students had mixed feelings about the app. 

“I think it would be useful but kind of stressful because you’re having people rate you and that might affect your self-consciousness when you’re out in the world,” Kelsey Fong said.

“I think it’s an interesting idea,” Kaveh Motamed said.  Motamed believes that having a central place to find personal and professional information would be a good idea. 

Publicly disclosing information, whether positive or negative, about other people when they have not opted in to the app could raise some legal concerns according to legal analyst and attorney Stephanie Haney. However, the extent of any legal issues cannot be confirmed until the terms of use are available to the public and the launch date nears. 

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