The Vybe Together app has been urging people to get their “rebel on” by organizing or attending large parties – a situation that made people break COVID-19 safety measures and protocols. The rebellious parties were advertised on the app, despite the government’s call on people for people to avoid large gatherings.
Vybe Together was taken down from the App Store this week, and TikTok and Instagram banned the app’s accounts from their platforms.
A spokesperson of the company told reporters that the app and website had been created to help people with the boredom they have been facing since the COVID-19 outbreak became a full-blown pandemic earlier this year. The spokesperson stated that the social media accounts of the app have gathered thousands of users, but Vybe Together has been making efforts to ensure that parties organized via its channels are not blown out of proportion.
“We offer similar services with Eventbrite, but in a cooler way,” the representative said in a statement sent via mail. “You can be together by playing scrabble and other board games or doing other amazing things with your friends and neighbors. We realize that people have been lonely, and we are offering them a cool way to get rid of depression, boredom, and loneliness. We do all this with the knowledge that large gatherings are dangerous, so as soon as we see that a lot of people are interested in an event, we bring it down.”
Before the bans, the Vybe Together website offered users the chance to organize or signup for secret parties, asking users to “rebel” against COVID-19 restrictions and party. The site allowed users to organize their parties and advertise to people who wished to attend such parties. A video of one of the parties organized on the app showed a large crowd of people having an indoor party without masks. The event, which happened somewhere in New York City, had almost 11,000 views on TikTok before the account was banned.
According to reports, Vybe Together had ensured that the people who showed interest in the parties were not law enforcement officers by verifying their social media handles before registering them as party-goers. The venues of the parties were then sent to approved guests two hours before the events started, according to reports.
Since the backlash and negative publicity the app received this week, the Vybe Together website has been altered. The site’s FAQ, contact, and career pages have been removed, but the site is still asking interested users to “rebel” by hosting parties. Authorities have warned people against hosting parties on New Year’s Day, as such gatherings can increase the rate of transmission of the coronavirus.