The debacle over the Peeple app - the so-called “Yelp-for-humans” app that could see you reviewing other people online - isn’t quite over yet.
I was hopeful that the Peeple mess had subsided and went away. There was certainly enough commentary to give anyone that impression.
However, I was wrong. The problem with this proposed people-rating application has reached many mainstream media outlets.
In a LinkedIn post, Peeple’s co-founder, Julia Cordray, has posted an update attempting to explain the purpose of the project.
The entire Peeple app has been redefined - most notably - as an opt-in platform.
In a previous article, I posed the idea that this was an example of social media misuse. The newly reinvented Peeple app shows many facets of what can go wrong when an idea is not thought through completely, and worse it still continues to show poor judgement by everyone involved.
First, the free-commenting internet community fails once again by attacking the person, rather than attacking the problem.
If the sanitized appearance of Julia Cordray’s Facebook page is any indication, Julia now spends as much, if not more time managing negative commentary than she does working to fix the problem with Peeple.
Ad hominem attacks and death threats are mediocre methods at effecting change in a civilized society. We have seen many examples of how the internet can be a force for change. The sanguine ugliness to which it sometimes descends is always troubling.
Next, Julia may want to examine her own response to the negative outcry.
Sometimes, as we have seen, it is not beneath a CEO to issue a public apology for a company’s misdeeds.
Julia has made the mistake of simply attempting to rewrite history by making the following claim:
“Peeple is focused on the positive and ONLY THE POSITIVE as a 100% OPT-IN system. 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.”
Each of these statements runs counter to what she stated in her initial interview about the app. Mea culpa, Julia?
I am still optimistic that this entire ugly episode will quickly go away. BBC News reports that the Peeple app’s Twitter and Facebook presences have disappeared, and the app’s official website is proving difficult to access.
Whatever the fate of the controversial app, judging by the active #Peeple hashtag on Twitter, discussion around it doesn’t seem to be going away.
Is this entire episode is a social experiment of “Czech Dream” proportions? We still do not know.
More importantly, given the alleged reworking of the Peeple app, should we continue to care?