Peeple - the creepy app that lets others rate, review and bully you online

A new app called Peeple is due to be released. And many folks aren't happy about it.

Peeple is being promoted by its creators as "a way to find out somebody's true character."

Various news organizations are referring to the Peeple app as "Yelp for humans" - allowing you to review and rate people professionally, personally and even romantically online.

Peeple

In a TV interview on Alberta Prime Time, the app's founder, Julia Cordray said that the idea for the new application was borne out of a conversation between her and co-founder, Nicole McCullough.

According to Julia Cordray, the purpose is for someone to find out more about everyone you interact with, whether it is your babysitter, your childís teacher, or your neighbors.

What could possibly go wrong here?

Julia has stated that there will be built-in safeguards to protect against bullying and false statements. Two of those safeguards are an age check (you must be 21 to join), and the requirement that each account is tied a Facebook account that is more than six months old.

Another safeguard is that you must register your cell phone number, to which a PIN will be sent to allow you to log in.

Put on your hacker hat for a moment and think how you can bypass all of those safeguards.

While I do not want to give step-by-step instructions, the idea of a "sockpuppet account", a 5-star negative review and a burner phone, immediately come to mind.

But fear not, as negative reviews will be delayed for 48 hours in order to allow mediation in the case of a dispute.

However, the mediation is not performed by the owners of the app. Instead, it is sent to the target's inbox, who is now given the opportunity to contact the reviewer to resolve the dispute.

Hmm. I wonder how a babysitter who is probably younger than 21 is supposed to handle that?

Many took to Twitter to express their concerns regarding Peeple.

I like to be an optimist, but the internet's track record for rating sites has not proven to be a bastion of empathy and compassion.

I only hope that Julia and Nicole have a long hard think about how they are going to handle the potential risks surrounding their Peeple app before it goes live, lest things take a sinister turn.

Tags: , ,

Smashing Security podcast
Check out "Smashing Security", the new weekly audio podcast, with Graham Cluley, Carole Theriault, and special guests from the world of information security.

"Three people having fun in an industry often focused on bad news" • "It's brilliant!" • "The Top Gear of computer security"

Latest episode:

, ,

4 Responses

  1. Jenna

    October 2, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

    I thought we are supposed to stop bully's and bullying! This app just finds a new way to bully. It's absolutely childlike and harmful. Why can't the world find the good in people and not post the faults in people. It's a damn shame that this would even exist. I guess you just can't fix stupid!

    • coyote in reply to Jenna.

      October 2, 2015 at 11:49 pm #

      Why can't the world find good? And why do people look away from bullying? It's because they are either bullies or are they sympathise (and/or don't care about anyone else) with bullies. In other words, they're weak people.

      It has nothing to do with stupidity and it has everything to do with common decency and respect for the world, animals and everything else – including people (themselves as well as others). Not that stupidity isn't abound…

  2. Bob Covello

    October 2, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

    This story is rapidly unfolding. The entire PEEPLE app may be a hoax.
    Check back here on GrahamCluley.com for a follow-up story early next week!

  3. coyote

    October 2, 2015 at 11:46 pm #

    Whether it is a hoax or not, I have this to say: Jack Daniel is too kind; those who use it should have to find out why it is a bad idea. I would also like to say that if it is real, I hope the creators are eventually rated on it (even though they'll probably remove any negative reviews about themselves, the bloody hypocrites). Hopefully it is a hoax but I've seen similar for other things and this is something many people would think is a good idea, so I could see it both ways…

Leave a Reply