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Sunday, July 12, 2020

OPINION: Rating Peeple

Many Western students haven’t heard about Peeple, a new phone app set for release in November and has been aptly dubbed “Yelp-for-people.”

The original purpose was to let anyone who downloaded the app to digitally say whatever they want about whoever they want as well as rate them on a scale of 1-5 stars. 

It’s a disturbing system, one that could be especially damaging to college students already dealing with massive amounts of stress. Peeple could do large blows to their self-esteem during the vulnerable period of college.

Peeple Co-founders Julia Cordray and Nicole McCulough were affected by the large amount of negative criticism the app received. As a result, much of the original content was removed from public view. 

McCullough and Cordray were getting the same kind of reviews about their product that would likely be sent out through their own app, and in response they hid.

Students can’t just pull themselves out of school when something bad happens. How are they supposed to react if they receive unwarranted, personal criticisms?

The fact McCullough and Cordray changed their minds demonstrates the kinds of responses people have when they’re criticised, as well as a complete lack of faith in their own product.

While Peeple features an opt-in option, which means anyone who doesn’t register for the app, cannot be reviewed. However, just like Facebook and Twitter, there’s no way of regulating users who register as someone they are not. 

The only restraint put on registration is the person must have a Facebook Account, be 21 or older and have an active phone number. But it could be all too easy to use a fake Facebook profile to create a fake Peeple account.

For students, who are already immersed in the stress of classes and work, this could be especially dangerous. Damage could quickly be done to self-esteem, resulting in even higher anxiety and perhaps depression.

If someone doesn’t like the way someone else acted, just talk to them in person or privately over some other social media site.

However, Peeple does have the potential to be a useful way of communication in a professional setting. If a supervisor wanted to give quick and clear feedback that would be too time-consuming if they met face to face with every one of their employees, this would be a great app.

Peeple could revolutionize professional communication, but in a social setting, there’s just too much risk. Self-esteem and mental health is more important than a few stars.

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