The “Yelp for People” app, Peeple, has suddenly vanished. Its online presence has been replaced by a page that says “Not Found,” and its Twitter account is missing. There’s no explicit reason given for the shutdown, though BBC reports that some users are being sent to a page that says, “Join the positive revolution #Oct12.” In an e-mail to the BBC, co-creator Julia Cordray revealed that they’re planning on taping for an “exclusive talk show to expose their idea to the world.”
This is after the app received a ton of backlash from people on the Internet who were incensed about the app’s intent, which was to allow the rating of specific people—whether they wanted to be rated or not. Yeah, we thought it sounded a lot like a specific episode of Community, too. Five Meowmeowbeenz to you if you caught that.
But Peeple didn’t exactly leave quietly. In fact, as Jezebel points out, Cordray wrote an essay on LinkedIn, titled “I Became a Trending Topic for the Wrong Reasons.” In it, she extolls the virtue of having a “positive-only” review app for people, emphasizing the constructive nature of it. While she seems to completely miss the point of people’s criticisms, what’s alarming is this: she received “death threats and extremely insulting comments” following her interview with the Washington Post.
Since the interview with The Washington Post, I’ve received death threats and extremely insulting comments aimed at me, my investors, and my family on almost every social media tool possible. I hope now if nothing else by watching me you can clearly see why the world needs more love and positivity.
Here’s the catch. I can’t delete any of them. They are there forever for the world to see.
Stick with me for a second and think about this: a female creator tries to market an app that is, as we all agree, misguided and probably not the best idea. But instead of criticizing the app, some people saw fit to get personal, sending her death threats and insults, attacking her instead of the app or the idea.
Granted, much of the media coverage focused on the app’s potential drawbacks and its shortcomings, but why is it that some people feel that when a woman in tech (or any industry, really) slips on an idea, she’s immediately deserving of death threats and nasty letters—let alone even when she doesn’t? It makes one wonder whether the circumstances would be different if a male creator pitched Peeple to the world. Sure, the app would’ve most likely still been criticized and made fun of, but would he have faced death threats? Would he have had to deal with the indelible mark of personal comments lodged at him and his family?
You see it in tech all the time. In fact, the next time Google I/O rolls around, sit in the livestream and watch the messages scrolling by. When a man shares a new idea or feature that seems useless, people call the idea useless. But when a woman does the same thing, she is attacked. She’s called stupid, dumb, her personality and intelligence called into question. This is on top of all the other nasty comments lodged at her before she even opens her mouth.
I can appreciate the irony of Cordray not liking the idea that she’s being “reviewed” by anonymous people on the internet. But come on, death threats? That’s inexcusable. We shouldn’t have to resort to becoming the very examples of the kinds of hate that would have plagued this app.
Please understand that this is not to excuse the app. From the get-go, I was incredibly uncomfortable with the idea that I could be rated by other human beings and have that out there for the world to see. Sure, it was opt-in, but I feel that it sends all the wrong messages about how to inspire positivity in the world. But that’s the thing: I disagree with the idea, but I don’t hate the person. I happen to not like what they’ve created, but I also don’t feel this insatiable urge to send her a death threat.
So just what is it that makes people want to do that?
(via Business Insider)
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