If there’s one rule that health experts and authorities have been trying to promote with utmost urgency, it’s that ‘gatherings are bad in a pandemic.’ But just like people who follow an anti-vaccine stance, there are also deniers who refuse to abide by the rules such as wearing masks and avoiding group meets. Not too surprisingly, a networking app was also built to promote secret parties in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. Named Vybe Together, the app has now been pulled from App Store for violating policies, and the TikTok account that was used to promote these underground parties has also been removed.
As per a BusinessInsider report, TikTok removed a video that showed people without masks partying indoors and had around 11,000 views. The TikTok account, whose activities were spotted by New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz and later shared on Twitter, showed it promoting underground gatherings in New York City. As per the Vybe website, one had to first apply for attending such an underground party, and if they are approved by the host, the venue of the risky gathering would be shared two hours before the party started.
They’re currently in the midst of promoting secret NYE ragers in nyc pic.twitter.com/dEIdwX1DKn
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) December 29, 2020
The motto of the Vybe platform? “Get your rebel on. Get your party on.” As for the Vybe Together app, it was reportedly listed on the App Store around four months ago, and was pulled down following an inquiry by BusinessInsider. However, Vybe Together CEO Alexandar Dimcevski has claimed the platform never hosted any large gathering and that the TikTok video in question was an “over-the-top marketing video.” Notably, Dimcevski appears to have taken down his LinkedIn profile, and the website has been pulled down too. You can view an archived version of the Vybe Together website here.
“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,” a Vybe spokesperson was quoted as saying by BusinessInsider.
Notably, the platform itself acknowledged that large gatherings are a major health risk, which is why it only facilitates small gatherings. Irrespective of what the company says, bringing together a bunch of random strangers is a clear violation of health guidelines and a ticking COVID-19 infection bomb waiting to explode.