New "Yelp for People" app raises privacy concerns
An upcoming app allows you to assign one- to five-star reviews to people you know – and its founders insist it will be used responsibly
The internet has offered an easy way for us to review stores, restaurants and other businesses. Products such as Yelp has revolutionized the "word of mouth" model businesses has used since they began. An app called "Peeple" which will allow one to give 5 star ratings to individuals aka private citizens.
The Washington Post reports that the company’s shares were valued at US$7.6m and is ready for a November launch.
“The Peeple app allows us to better choose who we hire, do business with, date, become our neighbours, roommates, landlords/tenants, and teach our children - There are endless reasons as to why we would want this reference check for the people around us."; said a spokesman for "Peeple"
Peeple will allow one to rate co-workers, exes, friends, neighbors etc. The only problem is anyone is fair game for a review. And you cannot opt-out. To join the service you must be at least 21 and have an established Facebook account. All reviews you write appear under your real name, and are contextualized in one of three categories: personal, professional or romantic. You can improve your public “positivity rating” by writing more positive reviews than negative ones. Once someone puts your name in the Peeple system, it’s there unless you violate the site’s terms of service. And you can’t delete bad or biased reviews.
Many legal scholars are seeing many potential legal land minds with this new App. The potential for defamation law suits is very high. The courts have long established that private citizens' privacy trumps freedom of speech rights of others. In The Supreme Court case of Gertz v. Welch (1974) stated private citizen's reputation and privacy interests tend to outweigh free speech considerations and deserve greater protection from the courts.
Peeple claims to have standards that will protect people from harmful comments pursuant to their character. The company reviews all negative reviews during a 48 hour period before they are posted and if a target of the review does not have a Peeple account only positive reviews will be posted. However this does not seem to make Facebook users any more comfortable. The Facebook page for Peeple is littered with comments requesting how to preemptively opt-out from the service.