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    Friday, January 1, 2021

    Apple Pulls iPhone App Promoting Secret Parties During COVID-19 Pandemic

    Apple has recently removed an iOS app called Vybe Together from its App Store. The app promoted private parties during the COVID-19 pandemic and allowed users to organise and attend secret private parties under the tagline, "Get your rebel on. Get your party on."

    The Vybe Together app, which promoted private parties, has been removed from the Apple App Store, had its account on TikTok banned, and scrubbed most of its online presence, with the app’s creators telling The Verge that Apple had banned it.

    Vybe Together billed itself on TikTok and its website as a place to organise and attend mostly illegal parties in contravention of social distancing laws, using the tagline “Get your rebel on. Get your party on.”.

    “Miss playing beer pong, flirting with strangers, and generally just having a blast with the crew? Vybe is here for you,” the website read.

    Users were asked to submit a profile before they were allowed to sign up, an application process that involved submitting the applicant’s Instagram handle, as well as uploading pictures of themselves partying.

    The application allowed people to create private events “no randoms will show up” at. Users could then apply for invites to events, hoping the host would deem them “interesting” enough to approve them.

    Once on the list, guests would wait to receive details of the location two hours before the event’s starting time.

    One of Vybe Together’s co-founders said the app had a few thousand users, and that a few thousand additional applicants had requested access since the company started publishing videos on TikTok.

    The app’s FAQ page – now deleted – acknowledged that Covid-19 was “a major health problem to the country, our communities, our friends and family”, but claimed the app was designed to promote “small gatherings” rather than “large scale parties”, which it described as “dangerous”.

    “But Vybe is a compromise […] We could be living, at least a little during these times with Vybe.”

    It remains unclear whether the app – which has only a few hundred followers on Instagram – substantially instigated illegal or unsafe gatherings, although it promoted “gatherings every weekend” in a TikTok video.

    Vybe Together’s creators have been contacted for comment. Their Instagram account includes the message: “App Store took us down!!! We will be back!!”

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