People-rating app to launch with anti-bullying revisions

By Daniel Uria   |   March 4, 2016 at 3:26 PM

CALGARY, Alberta, March 4 (UPI) -- The developers of the smartphone app "Peeple" announced they've made a number of changes to prevent the app from being used to bully people.

The "Peeple" app is set to be released on March 7. It was developed by Calgary, Alberta, residents Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough, and raised eyebrows in October when some observers wrote they were concerned that people who received negative reviews would not be able to opt out of being reviewed.

Apple's app store was among the concerned parties and turned down the app twice, asking the team to make several changes.

Apple's suggestion, combined with the public backlash, led Cordray and her team to make four major changes to the app's structure.

"We were really empathetic to hearing what our potential users really wanted," she told the CBC. "Out of that global viral media storm we were able to identify four things that we should or could change in our app. So we did."

The team completely did away with the Yelp-like five-star system, instead allowing people to recommend other users. Those recommendations are later represented by each user's "Peeple number" that increases with each recommendation.

They also backed away from their stark stance on hiding negative comments by not allowing users to recommend people not on the app while also granting users the ability to control what can be seen on their profile and delete their account at any time.

Cordray said she accepted the possibility of reviews being extremely positive because the app does not allow the anonymity used on rating services such as Yelp.

"I don't think being anonymous is good enough. I think you need to actually have an app where you're not anonymous and you can get real feedback from real people," she said.

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