Peeple app revised but 'truth licence' subscription will still allow bad comments

The controversial social networking app developed in Calgary has been reimagined but negative comments will still be available soon, for a fee.

Other users can see negative ratings with a subscription, available soon

'You should have the right to know who somebody is before you invite them into your home,' says the CEO of Peeple. (Screenshot/forthepeeple.com)

It's baaaaaaack.

The social networking app that received massive backlash last fall for creating a forum for people to rate humans like restaurants will go live on March 7 but users will still be able to see negative comments with a paid subscription called a "truth licence" which will be available soon.

"We were really empathetic to hearing what our potential users really wanted," Peeple founder and CEO Julia Cordray explained Friday on the Calgary Eyeopener.

"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."

Here's what's changed

  1. Technically, you can't rate people anymore. The five-star rating system has been axed and now you can only recommend people. "You now have a 'Peeple number' — which is the total number of recommendations you've received on our app," said Cordray.
  2. No one can add you to the app.
  3. You can deactivate your account any time.
  4. And while people can still make recommendations about your personal, professional and romantic qualities, what they say can't go on your profile without your permission unless they have signed up for the app's forthcoming "truth licence" for a monthly fee. 

Cordray argues that the app will still allow people to make "better decisions about the people around them" because that feedback is not anonymous — something, she says, that is not being addressed in the "reputation management sector," which includes forums like Yelp and RateMyTeachers.

"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."

Julia Cordray is CEO of the Peeple app. (Submitted)

Forging ahead despite backlash

You would think Cordray would have called it quits after receiving several anonymous death threats online.

But, in fact, she says that only solidified her decision to keep going.

"There was a huge thread that this was a bullying app, which was kind of ironic because you can't bully people in our app and in fact, us as founders and as a company were bullied on every social media platform there is," said Cordray.

She said the goal is to have the "truth licence" available in coming months. Until that time, negative comments can be suppressed.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

Clarifications

  • A previous version of this story stated users had to approve negative comments for others to see them. CBC News has since learned the creators of the app do plan to introduce a feature called "truth licence" which will allow users to see all comments, including negative ones.
    Mar 04, 2016 8:25 PM MT

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