The Care2 petition (rightfully) argues that "people aren't numbers" and demands an end to the release of the Peeple app. It currently has over 10,200 virtual signatures, though whether it can gain enough support by the app's proposed November 2015 launch to sway Peeple's creators remains to be seen.
"I just was so shocked by [the founders’] lack of understanding about how this could really get out of hand and harm a lot of people in various communities, and I felt compelled to make a petition about it," the petition's author, Jennifer Rodriguez, told Care2.
In order to post reviews on Peeple, users have to be at least 21 years old, have a Facebook account, and use their real names. They also have to confirm they know the person they're reviewing and indicate their relationship, whether it's personal, professional, or romantic.
It's not difficult to imagine Peeple being abused. Even worse is that once someone is in the app, they can't opt out, nor will Peeple delete negative reviews, the petition states.
In this day and age of online bullying, it's almost unfathomable (though not surprising) that someone would think an app like this is a good idea. It's so bad that many have questioned if Peeple is really just a hoax, a notion that's reinforced by Peeple's Twitter, Facebook, and home pages all disappearing from the web.
Julia Cordray, one of the app's founders, insists it's real. She told BBC in an email that her and the Peeple team "look forward to October 12, 2015 where we will be taping for an exclusive talk show and expose our concept to the world."
It's almost like #Peeple is discovering how awful it can be when anonymous strangers judge you over the Internet. WHAT A TWIST.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) October 5, 2015
Following all of the negative attention her app has received, Cordray outlined some changes to Peeple in a blog post on LinkedIn. She's now pitching it as a "positivity app" while reiterating it is indeed real, not a hoax.
"You will NOT be on our platform without your explicit permission. There is no 48 hour waiting period to remove negative comments. There is no way to even make negative comments. Simply stated, if you don’t explicitly say 'approve recommendation', it will not be visible on our platform," Cordray explains.
As The Next Web points out, this reimagined version of Peeple that will no longer allow negative reviews "is an exercise in futility." Cordray is essentially taking what was a very bad idea to begin and trying to make it less bad, but still pointless. Is it really helpful to read curated reviews about a person?
It's hard to imagine Peeple being a success, and scary to think that Cordray and her team could reverse course down the line by re-implementing negative reviews.