A brand new app called Peeple has sparked outrage and controversy because it allows users to rate other people in the same way as other apps let members review services and companies. The uproar centers on the fact that anyone can essentially write what they want about someone else and give them a star rating.
Experts fear that the app will cause a number of legal and privacy problems as there will be almost no way to police content and ensure that ratings are accurate. This could pose issues for the makers of the app and individual users if someone feels they have been wrongly described, allowing the possibility for legal action to be taken.
“I can only see a lot of headaches, it looks to me like potentially a recipe for a legal disaster,” said lawyer Steven Heffer. “They might have some kind of safety net, but it’s not going to stop people being defamed and suffering damage as well.”
Technology researcher Natalie Kane also expressed concern about Peeple, raising the issue that it could allow users to bully others as it only allows negative comments to be disputed by the person being rated. “Essentially you’re asking victims to confront their abusers – that’s a difficult conversation for any victim to have,” she said.