Secret party app Vybe Together says App Store ban was 'political'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 11
Vybe Together, an app that was pulled from the App Store for promoting large parties during the coronavirus pandemic, has appealed its removal.

Credit: Vybe Together
Credit: Vybe Together


The app, which was relatively obscure, gained hype last year for promoting and encouraging users to join "secret gatherings" -- including "ragers" on New Year's Eve. It was ultimately removed from the App Store in late 2020.

Now, Vybe Together COO Itamar Gil says the company is appealing Apple's decision to remove the app because it believes it was rejected for political reasons.

In an update to its developer guidelines on Monday, Apple added new options to its App Review contact form, which developers can use to appeal app rejections. One of those options is the ability for a developer to specify whether they believe their app was rejected due to unfair treatment, such as because of political bias.

Gil said that the removal of Vybe Together was political in nature because Apple "overridden state boundaries" and chose to be "politically correct." The company said in a statement that it believes its app was removed because it was "potentially harmful to Apple's public image."

"With that said, we think that Apple as a monopoly owes the people the right to choose for themselves; in Vybe's case they made a decision for the Public, acting as the judge and the prosecutor without our ability to defend ourselves," the company said.

Apple pulled Vybe Together shortly after media coverage highlighted a TikTok video that promoted large parties during New Year's Eve 2020. TikTok disabled the company's account, and Apple shortly followed suit.

Vybe Together says Apple hasn't let the app return to the App Store since its removal.

In a statement to AppleInsider, Apple said it removed Vybe Together because it promoted reckless behavior and that politics had no bearing on the decision. In addition to possibly endangering public health and safety during the pandemic, it also violated emergency public health orders. Apple says the behavior violated guidelines 1.4.5 and 1.1.

It still isn't clear why Apple removed Vybe Together. The company's developer guidelines do ban apps that "urge customers to participate in activities ... in a way that risks physical harm to themselves or others."

Update on Friday, June 11: Updated with statement from Apple and Vybe Together.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    docbburkdocbburk Posts: 36member
    It’s called Public Health!!  It’s not political.  Your company endangered thousands with your reckless promotion of illegal parties during a pandemic!  Be happy that you didn’t have more significant consequences.  You clearly demonstrated your disregard for public health.  Nice try with the Monopoly BS.  Enjoy life stuck on Android and find some ethics
    Beatsmwhitethtdysamoriawilliamlondonmike1drdavidDogpersonrobabajony0
  • Reply 2 of 17
    docbburk said:
    It’s called Public Health!!  It’s not political.  Your company endangered thousands with your reckless promotion of illegal parties during a pandemic!  Be happy that you didn’t have more significant consequences.  You clearly demonstrated your disregard for public health.  Nice try with the Monopoly BS.  Enjoy life stuck on Android and find some ethics
    If you believe that, then Apple should have banned Tinder, Bumble, etc. because far more people were "disregarding public health" by hooking up through those apps than anything Vybe Together would have hoped for in their wildest dreams...
    buttesilverwilliamlondonbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 3 of 17
    docbburk said:
    It’s called Public Health!!  It’s not political.  Your company endangered thousands with your reckless promotion of illegal parties during a pandemic!  Be happy that you didn’t have more significant consequences.  You clearly demonstrated your disregard for public health.  Nice try with the Monopoly BS.  Enjoy life stuck on Android and find some ethics
    If you believe that, then Apple should have banned Tinder, Bumble, etc. because far more people were "disregarding public health" by hooking up through those apps than anything Vybe Together would have hoped for in their wildest dreams...

    Wrong.  Those are one on one, and encourage social distancing, including remote dating.  If you can't tell the difference between a dating app and something calling for "whoever wants to meet up in a place and have a secret rager" where they expect a ton of people, I think you need to recalibrate.
    stompydysamoriawilliamlondonBeatsdrdavidrobabajony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 17
    tstumptstump Posts: 29member
    This is a hard one. People would’ve picked on Apple for hosting any app that could be harmful to people even though like other contact providers, it’s not really their place to judge that content.
    Do we also poor absolute train test pilots? Skiers? Stunt motorcyclists? That is even an app that just promotes hugging and kissing? LOL
    basically and fundamentally I’m someone who tries to be on the side of free speech and opening liberty for all. However, there are a lot of people out there who behave in ways they will get them killed , and I try not to judge that. However when people behave in ways that are likely to cause a lot of other people to get killed. That’s where we have to draw the line. It’s that simple.
    Trump can rent whatever hate speech he wants but his chauffeur shouldn’t be allowed to yell fire in a crowded theater.

    (… unless zxzxxx is up on the stage at the theater and several audience members have guns that are loaded… LOL I didn’t just say that did I? Redact redact redact. I really don’t mean that negative imagery in any real fashion. Please excuse. Just being exemplary and devastating and we all have good about us.)
    williamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 17
    1.  Yes it probably was political as was much of the COVID-19 response. Government authoritarianism people’s private lives is not something to support. 

    2. Apple is not a monopoly. They are a large successful company with a very nice cohesive platform that has taken a long time to get right. And it is right. 

    3. The irresponsible trend of developers who’ve got an axe to grind jumping on Epic “Apple is a monopoly!” Bandwagon has got to stop. It’s false, potentially harmful, and doesn’t help the disgruntled like they would hope. It’s just lashing out. Like a child does. 

    Grow up and learn to make your own case. 
    williamlondonBeatsJinTechthtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 17
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,299member
    docbburk said:
    It’s called Public Health!!  It’s not political.  Your company endangered thousands with your reckless promotion of illegal parties during a pandemic!  Be happy that you didn’t have more significant consequences.  You clearly demonstrated your disregard for public health.  Nice try with the Monopoly BS.  Enjoy life stuck on Android and find some ethics
    If you believe that, then Apple should have banned Tinder, Bumble, etc. because far more people were "disregarding public health" by hooking up through those apps than anything Vybe Together would have hoped for in their wildest dreams...
    Come on, think critically, not emotionally. The INTENDED PURPOSE of those apps clearly differs from the intended purpose of Vybe Together.

    This is like when people equivocate between guns and every/any other object that can cause physical harm if used offensively, as an argument against gun regulation. One is a tool explicitly designed to cause harm, the others are not. There’s a difference, and anyone making an effort to think outside their bias understands this.
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonBeatsdrdavidauxiothtIreneWrobabajony0
  • Reply 7 of 17
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,299member

    1.  Yes it probably was political as was much of the COVID-19 response. Government authoritarianism people’s private lives is not something to support. 

    2. Apple is not a monopoly. They are a large successful company with a very nice cohesive platform that has taken a long time to get right. And it is right. 

    3. The irresponsible trend of developers who’ve got an axe to grind jumping on Epic “Apple is a monopoly!” Bandwagon has got to stop. It’s false, potentially harmful, and doesn’t help the disgruntled like they would hope. It’s just lashing out. Like a child does. 

    Grow up and learn to make your own case. 
    1. What was political? Trying to reduce the spread of a disease with high lethality?

    2. Apple may not be a monopoly, but they absolutely do have a lot of influence and power, as a multi-billion-dollar entity. They engage in laissez-faire capitalism just as aggressively as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. Their business model is fundamentally different from Google & Facebook, but not so different from Microsoft, and it’s long been believed in the Apple fanatic community that Microsoft is “the great enemy” (after they defeated IBM, who was the previous “great enemy”). Do not show loyalty to corporations; they have no loyalty to citizens or countries.

    3. I agree, but we should not paint everything with the same brush. Apple deserves some criticism, though THIS story is NOT one of those cases where they’re in the wrong. Acting for the public good is a wise & ethical choice, even if the corporate motivator is company public image (gotta pick our battles; corporations doing good for others as a consequence of doing good for themselves is better than ONLY serving their interests, which is more often the case).
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonsconosciutoauxiothtdarkvaderrobabajony0
  • Reply 8 of 17
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,020member
    Apple has a monopoly on their own products, go figure 
    williamlondonBeatssconosciutoJBSloughthtrobabajony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 17
    I can claim the sky is green, but that doesn't make it so. These days people throw around the word political because the world is ignorant and it easily incites and inflames, as evidenced here in this very thread.

    It was decided gatherings of people were bad and Apple was just being a good world citizen by not facilitating people's doing things they're not supposed to do.

    Not political, just responsible.

    If that bothers you, don't submit apps to it, and don't bitch about it just go with another product. And whining about it in public is so childish, seriously.
    edited June 11 Beatssconosciutoauxiodrdavidkurai_kagethtDogpersonchasmrobabajony0
  • Reply 10 of 17
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,320member
    I wonder how many people got sick or died because of this app? Oh but “evil Apple”.


    dysamoria said:

    1.  Yes it probably was political as was much of the COVID-19 response. Government authoritarianism people’s private lives is not something to support. 

    2. Apple is not a monopoly. They are a large successful company with a very nice cohesive platform that has taken a long time to get right. And it is right. 

    3. The irresponsible trend of developers who’ve got an axe to grind jumping on Epic “Apple is a monopoly!” Bandwagon has got to stop. It’s false, potentially harmful, and doesn’t help the disgruntled like they would hope. It’s just lashing out. Like a child does. 

    Grow up and learn to make your own case. 
    1. What was political? Trying to reduce the spread of a disease with high lethality?

    2. Apple may not be a monopoly, but they absolutely do have a lot of influence and power, as a multi-billion-dollar entity. They engage in laissez-faire capitalism just as aggressively as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. Their business model is fundamentally different from Google & Facebook, but not so different from Microsoft, and it’s long been believed in the Apple fanatic community that Microsoft is “the great enemy” (after they defeated IBM, who was the previous “great enemy”). Do not show loyalty to corporations; they have no loyalty to citizens or countries.

    3. I agree, but we should not paint everything with the same brush. Apple deserves some criticism, though THIS story is NOT one of those cases where they’re in the wrong. Acting for the public good is a wise & ethical choice, even if the corporate motivator is company public image (gotta pick our battles; corporations doing good for others as a consequence of doing good for themselves is better than ONLY serving their interests, which is more often the case).
    You said

    1. “ Trying to reduce the spread of a disease with high lethality?”

    2. “ Do not show loyalty to corporations; they have no loyalty to citizens or countries.”

    3. “ Acting for the public good is a wise & ethical choice, ”

    Huh? Apple removed it to reduce spread of a disease like you said. That’s pretty loyal to their customers and to citizens.

    williamlondonDogpersonjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 17
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,636member
    docbburk said:
    It’s called Public Health!!  It’s not political.  Your company endangered thousands with your reckless promotion of illegal parties during a pandemic!  Be happy that you didn’t have more significant consequences.  You clearly demonstrated your disregard for public health.  Nice try with the Monopoly BS.  Enjoy life stuck on Android and find some ethics
    If you believe that, then Apple should have banned Tinder, Bumble, etc. because far more people were "disregarding public health" by hooking up through those apps than anything Vybe Together would have hoped for in their wildest dreams...

    Ridiculous. Not even close. A dating app, where presumably two people (alright maybe 3 or 4) would get together, is not the same as encouraging hundreds or thousands of people to congregate in a closed environment during a pandemic.
    sconosciutodrdaviddarkvaderjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 17
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,825member
    Rebel? The old South lost.
    sconosciutodrdavidchasmdarkvaderjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 17
    docbburk said:
    It’s called Public Health!!  It’s not political.  Your company endangered thousands with your reckless promotion of illegal parties during a pandemic!  Be happy that you didn’t have more significant consequences.  You clearly demonstrated your disregard for public health.  Nice try with the Monopoly BS.  Enjoy life stuck on Android and find some ethics
    If you believe that, then Apple should have banned Tinder, Bumble, etc. because far more people were "disregarding public health" by hooking up through those apps than anything Vybe Together would have hoped for in their wildest dreams...
    100%
    More of the rambling brainwashed that think we should have destroyed 10's of 1000's of businesses and lives for a "virus" that supposedly kills 0.03%?
    Thankfully folks are waking up to this nonsense...
    You put the word virus in quotes. A reasonable person is left to assume that you were implying the coronavirus was not actually a virus.

    Furthermore you modified the word °kills° with °supposedly°. So a reasonable person is left to assume that you are demonstrating doubt that the actual death rate is in the neighborhood of 0.03%.

    Actually I think I have an idea what you were trying to express, just doing so poorly. A number of measures were enacted by governments around the world to limit the spread of this highly communicable virus that confounded medical professionals whose job it was to treat the infected. This was NOT "just the flu".

    People can and will debate all day long about whether this measure or that one was necessary; on the whole, the actual fact that the 2020-21 flu season led to far less flu illness and far fewer flu deaths than in previous years definitively proves that a good number of these measures - especially masking, social distancing, and work from home - were justified. So people complaining that the death rate wasn't high enough to require drastic action are being willfully ignorant.

    You should not be surprised if no reasonable person takes seriously any "thoughts" you might have on the matter of the pandemic.
    edited June 11 williamlondondrdavidthtrobabajony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 17
    This is the playbook: take an extreme politcai position then throw a tantum claiming the reaction is political. Yawn. Nealry every level of government from democratic mayors to republican governors, two presidents and non-partisan organizations put rules in place regarding masks, distancing and capacity. I wont waste another second thinking about this.
    sconosciutowilliamlondondrdaviddewmenadrielwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 17
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 756member
    But but but but but all the money Apple lost in fees by not having Vybe on the App Store! Apple should counter sue! /s
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 17
    JBSloughJBSlough Posts: 72member
    Apple has a monopoly on their own products, go figure 

    Guess I should sue Ford for having a monopoly on the Mustang. 

    williamlondonthtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 17
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 509member
    docbburk said:
    It’s called Public Health!!  It’s not political.  Your company endangered thousands with your reckless promotion of illegal parties during a pandemic!  Be happy that you didn’t have more significant consequences.  You clearly demonstrated your disregard for public health.  Nice try with the Monopoly BS.  Enjoy life stuck on Android and find some ethics
    If you believe that, then Apple should have banned Tinder, Bumble, etc. because far more people were "disregarding public health" by hooking up through those apps than anything Vybe Together would have hoped for in their wildest dreams...

    A few people hooking up is fairly harmless compared to setting up a superspreader event.  And in most places, while it wasn't recommended to have random hookups, it wasn't actually illegal.  Large parties were.
    robabawatto_cobra
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