Long gone are the days when you could go home and escape the opinions and harsh criticism of your peers or colleagues. The new social media app Peeple, meant to connect people through positive reviews of each other, is set to launch at the end of November and has rightfully already been met with criticism.

There has been no discussion whether the app will be free to download or will require payment, but its main purpose is to rate the people that you encounter in your everyday life on a scale of one to five stars. These people must belong to one of three categories; personal, professional or romantic. That means colleagues, exes, even the next-door neighbor that you may not have spoken to more than three times, are caught in the line of fire. I am appalled that such a potentially harmful app is in the works and believe that the concept behind Peeple is not only disgraceful, but dehumanizing.

Peeple will only lend itself as a new platform for abuse. Rating restaurants and vacation hot-spots are one thing — they are meant to have good or bad reviews so that the public can be informed whether to go to them or not. These reviews are about places, not people, who will likely feel emotionally attacked or influenced by what is said about themselves by others. Despite reassurances by co-founders Nicole McCullough and Julia Cordray that there will be “rigorous integrity features,” I am not convinced that anyone will escape the critical eyes of others unharmed.

Anonymity might not be permitted on Peeple, unlike other social media outlets, but that does not mean that bullying will not happen. McCullough and Cordray seem to be under the false impression that just because someone’s real name is being used, it means that they will not be purposefully nasty when assigning “stars” to someone’s name. While anonymity certainly motivates people to say what’s on their minds more willingly, there are plenty of people who simply do not care how they come off to others. Even if these people face consequences for any hurtful or disparaging comments, the damage will have already been done to the person being targeted.

McCullough and Cordray seemingly had the foresight on one aspect; you have to be 21 or older to use the app. But the age restriction has me raising one important question: Although you need an established Facebook account to register, can people not simply use fake older ages to evade the restriction or use the account of an older sibling or friend? There are several holes in the age restriction plan that clearly have not been thought through thoroughly by either co-founder or those who approved the app.

More so, issues of consent and biases need to be brought up in future conversations about the app and any other platforms that may eventually follow. If someone has never been reviewed on the app before, you must have their cell phone number in order to add them to the database. The original intention was to have people’s names be taken from Facebook, but according to The Washington Post, Facebook’s Application Programming Interface (API) would not permit it.

It is still unclear whether the person’s number will be displayed on the app, so that raises another question regarding privacy concerns. There will be plenty of people who will feel uncomfortable with their private information potentially being available to the public, and will feel like they have been put in a vulnerable position; one that may not even accurately reflect who they truly are.

“Rate My Professor” is a relevant example of a rating program that most of us are familiar with hearing people discuss. Someone’s opinion of another person may be inaccurate due to a personal experience or incident that others will not encounter. I am sure that many of us here at Fairfield can agree that what one person who might hate the subject of math says about their math professor may not necessarily be a true reflection of the way that professor teaches. I expect that Peeple users who gauge a person’s character based on someone else’s opinion will encounter the same problem. Both sides would need to be looked at, but that is obviously impossible and creating a biased app will not allow for both sides to be told.

I hope that Peeple gets shut down before it can make its way to college campuses, particularly our own. Although many of us would not be able to use Peeple because of the age requirement, I have seen the nasty and vindictive comments that people make to each other on other apps such as Yik Yak. I am certain that those who could use Peeple would behave in a similar way and it would further harm the values that Fairfield students pride themselves on.

I understand that knowing how others feel about you is tempting though. I cannot count the amount of times that I have wondered what people think of me. That does not mean that I, or anyone else, should be privy to that knowledge. There is a reason why no one has created an app such as Peeple before — no one had the audacity to put others into what will clearly be a vulnerable or potentially harmful position. I am not sure what changed to make anyone think that such an app would be okay, but I do know that as frequent social media users, we should all avoid targeting each other and that can begin by protesting and refusing to download the upcoming app.

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