Apple pulls app promoting secret underground parties during the COVID-19 pandemic

Apple has pulled an app promoting secret underground parties during the COVID-19 pandemic following a social media backlash – but the creators have vowed ‘we will be back’. 

Vybe Together came under fire for encouraging people to ‘get your rebel on’ and gather with strangers, claiming ‘we could be living, at least a little during these times’.

It boasted it connected people who ‘miss playing beer pong, flirting with strangers, and generally just having a blast with the crew’ – and who want to disregard COVID-19 rules put in place to slow the spread of the virus.

But, after social media users fumed about the app and demanded Apple ban it, a spokesperson for Apple told DailyMail.com late Tuesday the app ‘is no longer available on the App Store’. 

A statement on Vybe Together’s Instagram account confirmed it was Apple that had removed it from the store. 

‘App Store took us down!!! We will be back!!’ Vybe Together posted in its bio.

The company website also appears to have been taken down and the controversial FAQ page – where it claims it doesn’t support ‘big parties’ but ‘small gatherings’ are a ‘compromise’ – is no longer accessible. 

The company has also been banned from TikTok and deleted much of its online presence, reported The Verge.    

Apple has pulled an app promoting secret underground parties during the COVID-19 pandemic following a social media backlash - but the creators have vowed 'we will be back'. Pictured footage of a party hosted by the app

Apple has pulled an app promoting secret underground parties during the COVID-19 pandemic following a social media backlash - but the creators have vowed 'we will be back'. Pictured footage of a party hosted by the app

Apple has pulled an app promoting secret underground parties during the COVID-19 pandemic following a social media backlash – but the creators have vowed ‘we will be back’. Pictured footage of a party hosted by the app

A TikTok video by Vybe Together of one of its secret parties in New York City shows a group of people dancing inside what looked like a nightclub and another group of people dancing outside

A TikTok video by Vybe Together of one of its secret parties in New York City shows a group of people dancing inside what looked like a nightclub and another group of people dancing outside

A TikTok video by Vybe Together of one of its secret parties in New York City shows a group of people dancing inside what looked like a nightclub and another group of people dancing outside

A statement on Vybe Together's Instagram account confirmed it was Apple that had removed it from the store and vowed 'we will be back'

A statement on Vybe Together's Instagram account confirmed it was Apple that had removed it from the store and vowed 'we will be back'

A statement on Vybe Together’s Instagram account confirmed it was Apple that had removed it from the store and vowed ‘we will be back’

Large indoor gatherings are currently banned in many major party cities such as New York, as public health experts urge people to stay safe over the holidays and warn the US death toll will spike further in January.  

But the app users and creators ignored the restrictions. The app promoted indoor house parties with random people, with people signing up for invites to potential superspreader events at places including strangers’ homes.   

A TikTok video of one of the secret parties in New York City showing a group of people dancing inside what looked like a nightclub. 

The caption ‘Gatherings every weekend’ is plastered across the video which then goes on to promote a New Year’s Eve ‘invite only’ party.

The footage then cuts to another group of people dancing outside.

‘Let’s be social #nyc #fyp #nye,’ the video reads. 

In New York City, indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people and bars and restaurants are all shut to indoor dining. 

The company website did not specify a limit on people attending events.

It encouraged ‘you and your crew apply’ and that ‘if the host finds you interesting, they will approve you’ and send you the location to the party.  

Vybe Together has not returned DailyMail.com’s repeated requests for comment about both the flouting of COVID-19 rules and now its removal from the App Store, but a now-removed FAQ page on the app’s website seemed to defend its promotion of parties amid the pandemic. 

Under the ‘What about Covid?’ question, the company claimed it didn’t support ‘big parties’ and admitted ‘if we all could just be in isolation this could actually go away’.

But it then claimed ‘small gatherings’ are a ‘compromise’.

‘We are aware that Covid is a major health problem to the country, our communities, our friends and family,’ it reads.

‘If we all could just be in isolation this could actually go away.

‘Having large scale parties is very dangerous. That is why we don’t support that. But Vybe is a compromise, no big parties but small gatherings. We could be living, at least a little during these times with Vybe.’ 

Vybe Together told Americans to 'get your rebel on' through its platform, connecting people who 'miss playing beer pong, flirting with strangers, and generally just having a blast with the crew' and who want to disregard COVID-19 rules put in place to slow the spread of the virus. Pictures from the site

Vybe Together told Americans to 'get your rebel on' through its platform, connecting people who 'miss playing beer pong, flirting with strangers, and generally just having a blast with the crew' and who want to disregard COVID-19 rules put in place to slow the spread of the virus. Pictures from the site

Vybe Together told Americans to ‘get your rebel on’ through its platform, connecting people who ‘miss playing beer pong, flirting with strangers, and generally just having a blast with the crew’ and who want to disregard COVID-19 rules put in place to slow the spread of the virus. Pictures from the site

The app promoted indoor house parties with random people

The app promoted indoor house parties with random people

People sign up for invites to potential superspreader events at places including strangers' homes

People sign up for invites to potential superspreader events at places including strangers' homes

The app promoted indoor house parties with random people, with people signing up for invites to potential superspreader events at places including strangers’ homes

The app encouraged 'you and your crew apply' and that 'if the host finds you interesting, they will approve you' and send you the location to the party

The app encouraged 'you and your crew apply' and that 'if the host finds you interesting, they will approve you' and send you the location to the party

The app encouraged ‘you and your crew apply’ and that ‘if the host finds you interesting, they will approve you’ and send you the location to the party

A now-removed FAQ page on the app's website seems to defend its promotion of parties amid the pandemic

A now-removed FAQ page on the app's website seems to defend its promotion of parties amid the pandemic

A now-removed FAQ page on the app’s website seems to defend its promotion of parties amid the pandemic

The app’s apparent encouragement to flout coronavirus restrictions sparked a backlash on social media, after New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz tweeted about the company.

‘Some terrible people built a whole app for finding and promoting COVID-unsafe large, indoor house parties and they’re using TikTok to market it to millions of ppl,’ Lorenz tweeted Tuesday.  

Several social media users slammed the actions of both the partygoers and the app creators as ‘stupid’ as record numbers of Americans are hospitalized and new strains of the killer virus are detected worldwide.  

‘This is not about a single person, it’s a chain effect. Grandma doesn’t deserve to die because she has stupid grandkids that went to a party,’ one person fumed. 

Another wrote: ‘They should all carry refusal of treatment/dnr cards so healthcare workers can fairly prioritize care in an overstretched system.’ 

Many suggested the events promoted by the app would spread the virus further.

‘VYBE: “Virus, you’ll be everywhere”,’ one person wrote. 

‘I see the growth strategy for this ‘throw a private party!’ app already: once people “Vybe together,” many may feel a keen need to “Ventylate together,”’ another outraged social media user said. 

Several social media users slammed the actions of both the partygoers and the app creators

Several social media users slammed the actions of both the partygoers and the app creators

Several social media users slammed the actions of both the partygoers and the app creators

Many people said they were taking the matter up directly with Apple for hosting the app on its platform

Many people said they were taking the matter up directly with Apple for hosting the app on its platform

Many people said they were taking the matter up directly with Apple for hosting the app on its platform

Others mocked the COVID FAQ on the company website and its claims of a ‘compromise’. 

‘Ahh yes, a compromise between public health during a global pandemic and doing blow with freshmen from NYU,’ one person wrote.  

Many people said they were taking the matter up directly with Apple for hosting the app on its platform. 

‘Hi @AppStore, how did this app get ok‘d? Anyway, please take care of this now,’ one person tweeted. 

Another person agreed: ‘@AppStore, how was this approved in a pandemic? @Apple, this is wildly irresponsible.’  

The secret party app was set up by New York University graduate and Swedish native Alexander Dimcevski

The secret party app was set up by New York University graduate and Swedish native Alexander Dimcevski

The secret party app was set up by New York University graduate and Swedish native Alexander Dimcevski

As of Tuesday afternoon, the app was still on Apple’s App Store. It does not seem to be hosted on Google Play.

DailyMail.com contacted Apple over its decision to host the app and late Tuesday night, Apple confirmed it had bowed to pressure and removed it.   

The secret party app was set up by New York University graduate and Swedish native Alexander Dimcevski.

According to his LinkedIn, Dimcevski cofounded Vybe Together in January 2020.

The company is listed as employing just 2 to 10 people while Dimcevski is also listed as a Chief Technology Officer in Phoenix. 

Dimcevski hails from Mölndal before studying at both New York University and Columbia University in New York City, according to his Facebook.  

The entrepreneur’s apparent mission to hook people up with parties during the pandemic comes at a time when much of the nation is grappling with record hospitalizations and deaths. 

America reached a new record for hospitalizations Tuesday with more than 121,000 patients and the CDC released a grim new model predicting the death toll will top 400,000 by January 20.

The same day Colorado announced it has detected the first US case of the super-COVID strain that was first found in the UK and is said to be 70 percent more transmissible than the original.   

Link hienalouca.com

(Total views: 538 Time, 1 visits per day)

Leave a Reply