Peeple reinvents itself, as its social media presence goes down the plughole

PeepleThe 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.

LinkedIN post

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?

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6 Responses

  1. Myles

    October 6, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

    It worries me a lot that people are feeding her attention, and re-affirming her broken world view of how "More positivity is needed" and how her tool will be some kind of emotional savior.

    Whilst trying to make the net a better place is always an admirable thing, there's a degree of realism that everyone has to deal with.. and some stranger being able to sign up my number, my picture, create a profile "on my behalf" and that's somehow acceptable in her world? Has she never had a bad relationship or breakup, an vindictive ex, or anything as awful?

    Ignorance is bliss, but it's not the truth. Exactly how she planned to be in line with most countries DPA with the T&C's on the site including not being able to delete this profile someone made for you is beyond me.

    Maybe she'd say it's just the scars of years and less than optimum experiences jading my view as much as their insane optimism makes them think that a happy thought and word can fix everything that's broken.

    It can make someone's day, and bring joy to someone's heart sure, and I'd take an innocent smile from a baby and enjoy that moment, though they forget that sadly many people have to be very aware of the worse elements of things to allow people like her to keep this broken, blinkered view.

    It's ironic in a way that all this app has done for me personally is remind me of the airheaded naive innocence that is able to exist because people are able to foster the environment for it to, and that at least gives me a little hope that a balance of it can exist somehow.. happy, intelligent and aware people who're able to bring positivity out of the bad, but are grounded enough not to think they can fart rainbows.

  2. coyote

    October 6, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    Besides responding to some of your points, I have this, which I think will be interesting and/or amusing to some:

    First, the use of a homophone (peeple instead of people) is really annoying because it completely stops the flow of any sentence with it ('peeple is … ' for example) and this is made worse because the e and o are hard to see differences to when next to each other (or at least harder to see than if they were separate). Maybe it is just because I naturally see mistakes without trying but it makes reading said sentences rather difficult. Yet, I have something better to say on this:

    The fact the word starts with peep *makes me think of peeping and more so peeping Toms*. That was my initial thought on the name (last week or whenever it was). And you know, if I were to try to spread the rumour (something I'm only for in this one case if even this) of that's what it is about, I imagine they would be very angry. Yet even if it would be blatant defamation (or at least presumably it would be), *the reality is they're asking for problems when implementing a way to complain about or rate people, and they have it coming to them and they deserve it*.

    "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."

    Justice. Just like I pointed out initially in one of your other posts.

    "Ad hominem attacks and death threats are mediocre methods at effecting change in a civilized society"
    Ad hominen shows is a sign of ignorance at best and much worse exactly because of what it is – attacking the person rather than what they do/know/how they think/etc. Death threats are unfortunately not always mediocre but they also happen to be illegal in many jurisdictions.

    "Julia has made the mistake of simply attempting to rewrite history by making the following claim:"

    Sounds like something a politician would do, doesn't it? Yet she will find out the hard way that her first mistake was the initial 'app' and that that wasn't her only mistake. Or maybe she'll just write it off as never happening, just like so many do with history? Either way, it will likely bite her in some way or another from now on, and that's her problem and her fault.

    "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."
    Typical social chatter. As long as it doesn't hurt (you) or anyone else, why care?

    "More importantly, given the alleged reworking of the Peeple app, should we continue to care?"
    At least not as the 'old one' is. But should we care about it at all? I think no but try telling that to those participating in above said social chatter.

  3. blue

    October 7, 2015 at 2:34 am #

    "First, the free-commenting internet community fails once again by attacking the person, rather than attacking the problem."

    Really? I saw no real evidence of that. Why the finger-wagging?
    I think many people were expressing their genuine concern about the app, and raising valid points. All I saw was Julia Cordray telling people to F-OFF and that they should stop bullying her. ie. She was the one openly threatening others, and playing the victim card.
    I've been following this for a few days now and it seems as though she is genuinely in need of counselling/help. The total disconnect to reality is staggering.

  4. Bob Covello

    October 7, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

    Blue:
    Thanks for the comment.
    In the interest of keeping this as family-friendly as possible, some of the comments ranged anywhere from the odor of Julia's various body parts to ratings about her intimate encounters. I will not provide links to those.
    As I stated in the first article on this subject, the internet has never been a bastion of compassion and empathy. (John Oliver gives some wonderfully astute and funny examples in his comments about Net Neutrality as well as his commentary about the Peeple app).
    I make no assessments about Julia's mental state, however I agree that her approach is not showing her in the best light possible.
    I hope that in the interest of the companies that she runs, she has not done irreparable damage.

    Cheers!

  5. Hemu evers

    October 8, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    THe internet social media is just as bad as Russian hackers. Perhaps, humanity should go back to smelling flowers, fresh air, jogging or walking , reading a good book, or meeting your friends face to face over a cup f tea. That is how I keep my sanity. Huxleys BRAVE NEW WORLD is accurate

  6. Pete

    October 8, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

    The idea of “reputation as currency” is hardly a new one. Indeed, it already exists, albeit not in any systematized way for individuals.

    Actually, it’s a very useful concept, but the problem is that it’s very difficult to implement in a way that turns out to be practically useful. But it’s not impossible. For example, online product reviews can provide useful information about a product’s reputation.

    The rating system used the Better Business Bureau provides a similar function for businesses. But the BBB’s system has been thought through and implemented far more carefully than this “Peeple” thing.

    It’s not inconceivable that someone could figure out a way of creating a credible service that provides accurate, reliable information about individuals. But the kinds of safeguards and verification procedures needed to make it truly useful would have to be far more sophisticated than the chaotic melée “Peeple” proposed to provide.

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