Apple has booted an app from the App Store accused of helping promote secret indoor parties during COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Vybe Together app was connected with a TikTok account (also removed) that promoted New York-area parties. While its creators claim that they weren’t encouraging law-breaking behavior, clearly both Apple and TikTok disagreed.
“We are like Eventbrite, but way cooler,” a Vybe Together spokesperson told Business Insider. “Vybe’s can be anything from playing board games to bachata with your neighbors. A lot of people have been isolated and lonely and we wanted to enable them to meet. We are aware that large gatherings are not okay and we do not promote them. If we see events are popular we take them off!”
However, despite this defense, the Vybe Together website — which has been stripped of much of its information, such as a FAQ and contact page — has a banner reading, “Miss playing beer bong, flirting with strangers, and generally having a blast with the crew?” It also invites people to “Get [their] rebel on.”
The app was initially posted to the App Store four months ago. It allowed people to set up parties and approve fellow partygoers. Two hours before the event was due to start, the address was shown to approved users. Apple has not given a comment regarding the app’s removal.
Taylor Lorenz, a reporter for the New York Times, who writes about internet culture, was the first person to report on Vybe Together.
COVID-19 cases spiking around the United States
Currently, COVID-19 cases are spiking around the United States. Apple has done its bit to help fight back against the coronavirus pandemic. Along with making multiple donations to COVID-related causes, it teamed up with Google to create a contact-tracing tool. This API forms the basis of track-and-trace apps launched in a number of places around the world.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people stay home for New Years Eve. Anyone who does go out should socially distance, avoid alcohol and shouting, and wear masks.
Source: Business Insider