Last week, the not-yet-built-but-already-infamous app Peeple was announced, and quickly branded as a "Yelp for humans". A few days of public outrage later, a rumor has spread leading the people to wonder: is the Peeple app a hoax? The idea of an app letting people rate other human beings like they were hotel chains certainly led some to hope that it might be. The mere news of the people-rating app left its potential user-base with dropped jaws and boiling blood. Despite the fact that founder Julia Cordray now claims the intention of the site is to spread positivity, the reactions from the public were unanimous: no, just no.
While the forum the app would create has the potential to house positivity, the founders either grossly underestimated troll culture and the even greater potential it has to wreck irreparable damage, or they didn't factor it into the idea of the app at all. Reputations and relations could undergo unnecessary strains with the type of public platform an app like this could create. The defensive and publicity-driven response from the founders did not help to settle the public's unease. If anything, they only added to the outrage and gave ammunition to reporters hoping to bring them down — hence the recent hoax theory.
The question marks surrounding the authenticity of the app's intentions were fueled by a confusing Snopes report. In the report, the rumor-busting site draws attention to the fact that Peeple's digital footprint was virtually nonexistent before last week's press release. That, in conjunction with the uncertainty surrounding the status of U.S. and Candian patents is enough to make Snopes suspicious about the app. Why would U.S. patents be left suspended? Why would the founders willingly neglect them before publicly announcing them? Is the Canadian patent status significant? While Snopes raises these questions, they fail to draw any concrete conclusions, leaving readers clouded.
And while Snopes points out that there were social media accounts (one of which states April 1 as the app's birthday) linked to Peeple, they remind readers that the focus of their content was limited to mention of a web series featuring the founders. Could this all be a publicity stunt to promote the web series? These questions and findings helped to ignite Newsweek's claims that there is significant evidence to believe that the app in indeed a hoax. These new reports have been meet with sighs of relief, as the public was far from in favor of the app. So is Peeple an internet hoax and future sketch material for SNL? Or is it just wishful thinking from the public?