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Apple pulls app that promoted parties during pandemic from the App Store

How did this app get approved?

What you need to know

  • Apple has pulled an app from the App Store the promoted gathering during the pandemic.
  • The app, called Vybe Together, encouraged people to “get your rebel on.”

Reported by The Verge, Apple has taken an app off of the App Store that promoted people to attend parties during the COVID-19 pandemic. The app, called Vybe Together, has also been banned from TikTok.

The app had billed itself as a way for people to plan and find underground parties and “get your rebel on.”

Vybe Together billed itself on TikTok and its website as a place to organize and attend underground parties, using the tagline “Get your rebel on. Get your party on.” Organizers would have to approve everyone who wanted to attend, and the ones that got approved would receive the address two hours before the event. Most of these gatherings would have been illegal under current US pandemic restrictions — which may explain why the app required you to submit a profile for approval before you were allowed on.

The app came into the spotlight after The New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz tweeted about the app after discovering the website.

Vybe Together largely had a low profile before today, although it was mentioned in at least one EventBrite invitation to a New York party in September. It received wider exposure after The New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz critically tweeted screenshots of the website and described it as an app for “finding and promoting COVID-unsafe large, indoor house parties.”

According to the report, the app thankfully did not have many followers on TikTok or Instagram before it was pulled from the App Store and banned from most of the social media platforms.

It’s unknown whether the app substantially contributed to people holding unsafe events, although it promoted “gatherings every weekend” — including an upcoming New Year’s Eve party — in a TikTok video. The Vybe Together app had only 25 ratings before being removed, and its Instagram page has under 1,000 followers. In a statement to The Verge, TikTok said the account on that platform had only 139 followers when it was removed. The app appears to have launched previously under the name Trendies, a name mentioned on its now largely empty Instagram page.

The Instagram account now contains one post which says that reports have mislabeled the intention behind the app.

Vybe Together’s Instagram account now contains a single text post. “Blown out of proportion by media,” it reads. “We DO NOT CONDONE LARGE GATHERINGS.”

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