By Betty Yu

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – An app being billed as the Yelp for people has caused quite the controversy. Called Peepel, the app allows users to rate anyone they know, but critics said the app would cause cyberbullying.

“We want you to get those rock star comments by all the people that love you,” said Julia Cordray, the San Francisco-based co-founder of Peepel.

San Francisco-based Co-Founder Julia Cordray and her best friend Nicole McCullough created the app because they wanted a way to research strangers.

“You’re going to be able to really find out who somebody is before you invite them into your life,” Cordray said.

Set to release next month, the app allows people to create a profile for themselves or anyone else you have a cell number for. Anyone can post a rating or comment to that profile, positive or negative, though bad reviews aren’t immediately published. Anonymous reviews aren’t allowed.

“Freedom of speech is cool but at the same time, I feel like you should respect people’s space, and I feel like this is kind of a little intrusive,” said Derek Okumura of San Leandro.

This week, critics slammed the app online for encouraging cyberbullying. All the negative attention even caused the app’s website to crash yesterday.

“I think the people who are most motivated to write a rating about you is someone who doesn’t like you, and that can be trouble,” said CNET senior editor Bridget Carey.

That trouble could mean defamation of libel.

Peeple users can’t exactly say anything they want. Profanity, racism and sexism are banned on the app. and users can dispute low star ratings.

“Everyone judges on a daily basis so, you have to, I think it’s just human nature, so maybe this is the next step,” said David Cotton of San Francisco.

Cordray insists Peeple is a positivity app. Constant complainers will see their own star ratings drops.

“I think it’s a positive thing, it can kind of encourage you to be a positive person, you’re pointing out good attributes about other people,” said Katie Johnson of San Francisco.

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