|Industry||Social networking service, mobile app|
|Website||No longer available, formerly onlulu.com|
Lulu (formerly Luluvise) is a mobile app formerly available for iOS and Android that allowed female users to make positive and negative evaluations of male users on the basis of their romantic, personal, and sexual appeal. The app allowed only female users to access the evaluation system, and evaluations made through the app are attached publicly and anonymously. The New York Times described the service as a "'Take Back the Internet' moment for young women who have come of age in an era of revenge porn and anonymous, possibly ominous suitors".
In 2015 the app moved away from Facebook, and currently only allows registration via mobile phone numbers, for both male and female users.
Lulu describes itself as "a private network for girls to express and share their opinions openly and honestly" about the weaknesses and strengths of the manners, appearances, spending habits, and career ambitions of their male acquaintances. The company's expansion of its user base focuses heavily on recruiting undergraduate members of American all-female sororities, which commentators describe as reflected in the "app's linguistic and visual design [which] is visibly influenced by US sorority culture."
The app has been highly controversial, and the functionalities offered by the app are frequently described negatively in the popular press as "sexist and objectifying", "nonconsensual", and "shallow and mean". Although female users cannot write their own comments to avoid bullying, the company's harshest critics hold that the pre-selected terms used within the app for evaluations in the form of hashtags are instrumental in "reinforcing completely horrible stereotypes", accuse the site of tolerating a sexist double standard, and liken the "candor" for which the app aims to a form of public harassment. The company's founder, Alexandra Chong, refers to the app's functionalities as "provocative" and "ground-breaking" and the website holds that the multiple-choice nature of evaluations creates "a safe and positive place for girls and guys".
The company has also been accused of inappropriate use of Facebook accounts' user data. Lulu does not query male Facebook users for their consent in integrating their profiles in the app, and at the time of its release the product caused notable social "recoil" and received significant negative coverage in the press for its violation of Facebook's policies on the use of user data. The company notes that its data collection policies are now in compliance with Facebook's Platform Policies. Also, it points out how users who have unwittingly been incorporated into Lulu's databases may contact their support center for the removal of their personal data.
Lulu was sold to Badoo in 2016.