REPORT

The man screwing up Lulu’s Brazil launch

By Jack Flanagan

Lulu, the woman’s app for rating men, came to Brazil three weeks ago, but its arrival has been a mixed blessing for the man-rating app.

Yes – it’s eclipsed other “social” apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp in downloads – but it has also received a hailstorm of criticisms from Brazilian men who feel victimised by the service, and it now faces a lawsuit from an upset lawyer from São Paulo.

I believe that Lulu and Facebook violated my honour, intimacy, privacy and image …

This is far from the first time Lulu has come under-fire. At a time when even the slightest misogyny is blown-up and pasted all over Jezebel, Lulu looks like uncensored hypocrisy. Men can be rated by any measure, as long as it lies within cutesy “girl-talk” euphemisms; “#cheaperthanbreadandbutter”, “#SleepsInTheWetSpot”, “#CarneFresca”.

Not only a little bit patronising to women, the app waters down the personality of any man. If you inverted the app and used a guy’s typical vocabulary for describing exes, it would cause huge uproar. Think of the recipients who read “#bigtits”, “#sugarbaby”,“#looselipssinkships”.

Felippo de Almeida Scolari, 28, of São Paulo, received a message from a friend of his girlfriend’s – a screenshot of an online profile he didn’t make or want, and the law academic took action. The case he makes is that his details were used without his consent: he is “disgusted”.

The Kernel interviewed Mr Scolari to find why he feels that way, and what he can achieve.

How did you hear about Lulu?
I was with my girlfriend when we were surprised by a mutual friend, who informed us that I was being evaluated by an application. I was angry because I never granted any permission for my image to be conveyed in this application (Lulu). I believe that Lulu and Facebook violated my honour, intimacy, privacy and image, which are protected by the Brazilian Constitution (article 5, section X). So I went ahead with the lawsuit for R$27,000 for moral damages, which will all go to GRAACC (Support Group for Children and Adolescents with Cancer) if I win. My sole interest is to preserve my rights and fundamental guarantees.

In your interview with the Telegraph, you mentioned that you were “disgusted”. Could you explain why?
Yes, because: 1 – I did not authorise the disclosure of my image for the purpose of the application; 2 – the review is anonymous, which is forbidden by the Brazilian Federal Constitution (art. 5, IV); 3 – The user is required to download the application to delete your account, an account he never created. This tells you why the application is the most downloaded in the Brazilian Apple Store. Finally, it’s important to note that the application and Facebook also undermine the Consumer Protection Code (it uses a tactic similar to blackmail if you want to unsubscribe).

Do you think Lulu will take off in Brazil?
The way it is today, NO. When a foreign company comes to Brazil, it must observe our laws, under penalty of having to cope with cases like these. Today, the main problems of Lulu are anonymity and image placement of unauthorised persons.