“Yelp for People” Is a Great Idea, What Could Possibly Go Wrong

Photo via Peeple
Photo via Peeple

So it looks like a new app is launching this November which is being billed as the “Yelp for People,” and it will itself bear the glorious name “Peeple.” Per the Washington Post, Peeple will allow users “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.” And in case you aren’t all that concerned about it (hey, you‘d never sign up for this site, so who cares?), as it turns out, “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.” So it is, in other words, just like Yelp, in that you’ll have no control over what’s being put out there—including yourself! Lol. What a great world we live in. What a time to be alive.

No, but really: What a time to be alive, right? Gone are the days when we paid lip service to the idea that humanity is comprised of anything other than judgmental assholes who, for the most part anyway, not only have pretty terrible judgment (have you spent much time reading Yelp reviews?), but also are very bad at articulating why it is that they do or don’t like something (no, really: have you spent much time reading Yelp reviews?). We now live in a time when all illusions of a common decency are shattered and our Hobbesian destiny is basically fulfilled (at least the brutish and nasty part, good news is it lasts longer than ever now!).

The real joke of this whole app is that the founders promise that this isn’t going to be used as a forum for bullying, and have clearly outlined many of the different ways in which they are ensuring that this won’t happen, but don’t actually touch upon the real problem, namely, that this app is inherently compromised and frankly inhumane because of the way in which it values gossip and hearsay over firsthand knowledge and human interaction—and all this under the guise of “positivity.”

After all, Peeple’s tagline is “character is destiny,” a frankly Orwellian phrase which I think we can all agree, is bullshit on every level. Character—whether positive or negative—plays little to nothing in our destinies compared to things like, oh, socio-economic realities, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and a whole host of other immutable factors that Peeple opens the door for all of us to judge each other on. While there’s a good chance that Peeple will not, in fact, be the next Yelp, and will rather flail its way to being the next Lulu (a dating app which also wanted to be the next Yelp, but… failed), it’s still troubling that millions of dollars in investment capital have been raised for an idea that is about as progressive and societally healthy as the comments on Lena Dunham’s tweets—which is to say, not very.


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