Despite over 82 million cases and over 1.75 million deaths due to COVID-19, many people are bound and determined to carry on with normal life. For some, that includes attending Saturday night ragers, just like they did in the Before Times. Reports of yet another secret party being broken up by law enforcement have become distressingly common.
Getting guests for these secret parties is at least slightly more difficult now that Apple has pulled Vybe Together—an app with a tagline that invited users to “get their party on”—from the App Store. The Verge pointed out that the app had largely been flying under the radar until a tweet from Taylor Lorenz of the New York Times brought some unwelcome, but much-needed scrutiny to the app. One of Lorenz’s tweets highlighted Vybe Together’s TikTok account, which had posted videos of unmasked people partying indoors while advertising New Years Eve parties. According to Business Insider, TikTok has since removed Vybe Together’s account for violating community guidelines.
Vybe Together’s FAQ at least acknowledged the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are aware that Covid is a major health problem to the country, our communities, our friends and family. If we could all just be in isolation this could actually go away.” So far, so good.
“Having large scale parties is very dangerous,” the FAQ continued. “That is why we don’t support that. But Vybe is a compromise, no big parties but small gatherings.”
The problem is that in places like New York, where the app was advertising, the number of people from different households who can safely gather indoors and unmasked is zero. The behavior Vybe Together encouraged is inherently dangerous, both to the participants and those they live with.
A spokesperson explained that the app was really meant for small get-togethers. “Vybe Together was [a minimum viable product] designed to help other people organize small get-togethers in parks or apartments during COVID,” the spokesperson told The Verge. “We 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.”
They only condone having small, unsafe parties.