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article imagePeeple app to let anybody publicly rate anybody with no opt-out

By James Walker     Oct 3, 2015 in Technology
A new app that will make it possible to publicly rate anybody without their knowledge is preparing for launch. Dubbed 'Yelp for people', the review-and-rank app will be impossible to opt-out of, to the fury of campaigners against cyber-bullying.
Created by Nicole McCullough and Julia Cordray, Peeple is slated to launch next month and will encourage the population to rate other people after every interaction, according to the Washington Post. The system has been criticised for encouraging people to treat each other as if they are reviewing an inanimate restaurant, hotel or product.
When the app launches, users will be able to place one-to-five star ratings on every other person on the service. Short reviews can also be uploaded to express a more complicated opinion or explain a ranking. The person being assessed can respond to reviews to add their own insight but negative reviews cannot be removed. The service argues such an ability would defeat the whole purpose of the app.
Positive reviews will be publicly available immediately while negative ones will sit in a user's private inbox for 48 hours so they can be responded to. Only positive reviews will be shown on the public profiles of people who have not signed themselves up for the app.
Users will have to be over 21 years of age and owners of an active Facebook account to register but otherwise there are no restrictions. Many people may end up with public reviews without ever knowing if they are not present on the service themselves.
The Washington Post reports that co-founder Julia Cordray said the app is designed to "showcase your character," explaining: "People do so much research when you buy a car or make those kinds of decisions. Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?" McCullough added that as a mother she welcomed a system which could let her check which neighbour she could trust her kids with.
Humans can be added to Peeple by anybody using only their mobile phone number. The person responsible for adding a new user to the system must say whether their relationship is personal, professional or romantic.
Peeple's shares were worth $7.6 million on Monday as news of the project broke. The app responded to concerns that it would become an easy platform for cyber-bullies and trolls to reside on by saying it has rigorous "integrity" controls designed to prevent the service being used solely for the naming of enemies.
The app has already caused chaos online by apparently hijacking the brand of an existing innovative hardware company called Peeple. In a Wired article, the original Peeple's Chris Chuter explains how his Twitter notifications have been controlled by angry users mistaking his company, @peeplehome, for the @peepleforpeople handle of the controversial app. The followers of the original brand, makers of an award-winning Internet-connected smart peephole for front doors, have called for Peeple to rename itself or apologise for the confusion and hostility it has caused to Peeple Home.
Over the past few days, Twitter has been filled with angry and aggressive comments aimed at the app's creators. In a move quickly slammed as deeply hypocritical, the company claiming to be building a "positivity app" appeared to block or disown some of the negative feedback, to the disgust of the people who sent it.
On its website, Peeple claims to be "revolutionizing the way we're seen in the world, through our relationships." In a message on their homepage, Cordray and McCullough say they "will not apologize" for creating the app "because we love you enough to give you this gift." Unfortunately for the pair, it seems as though most people don't seem to be too willing to receive it.
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