Illicit apps promoting Covid-19 parties are finally being pulled

Brought to light by a reporter on Twitter, a controversial phone app that connected cooped up socialites at nearby ‘pandemic parties’ has finally been pulled.

An app that promoted and claimed to host illegal parties during lockdown has this week been ousted from iOS, and efforts have been elevated to upend plans of this nefarious variety altogether.

Vybe Together, whose slogan happened to be ‘Get your party on, Get your rebel on,’ had been connecting cooped up socialites at illicit and unsafe gatherings for months, and promoting events on TikTok before its online presence was completely scrubbed out.

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

Operating under the radar of US authorities for months, Vybe Together organisers had been vetting would be party-goers on its website, with successful entries reportedly receiving the address of illegal events two hours before opening. As you’d expect, ensuring a successful application had plenty more to do with someone’s capacity to keep all under wraps than providing proof of a negative Covid test.

In-fact, according to the Verge, the app’s 2000 users even had to submit their Instagram handles and upload recent pictures of themselves partying admist lockdown restrictions to be accepted on the platform. Thankfully though, Vbye Together’s meagre 25 ratings on the app store suggests the app was nipped in the bud pretty soon after its launch.

Having been mentioned in at least one EventBrite invitation to a New York based party in September, wider exposure came this week when New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz tweeted a TikTok video in which Vybe proclaimed to be a ‘secret party app,’ and brazenly promoted underground gatherings for New Year’s Eve.

Having now been ousted from the Apple store, and hit with the customary wave of outrage on social media, Vybe Together is proclaiming its innocence despite openly sharing videos of house parties with upwards of 20 people a few days ago.

A spokesperson claimed: ‘Vybe never hosted any large parties, and we made one over-the-top marketing video that left a wrong impression about our intentions, which has since been taken down. We do not condone large unsafe parties during a pandemic.’

We’ll leave you to make up your own minds on that one.

The most pertinent question in this case however, is just how the app managed slip through the barriers set out by Apple in the first place. Claiming to have over ‘500 dedicated experts’ working solely on safety checking and reviewing apps for mainstream release, it just goes to show that even multi conglomerates like Apple have to further increase their efforts to combat illegal activity in times of such grave importance.

This minor embarrassment for Apple just may be the necessary kick up the backside to keep tech proprietors on their toes in the early months of 2021.

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