- Vybe Together, a New York City-based “secret party app”, used TikTok to promote a big New Year’s Eve party that appears to violate CDC-recommended COVID-19 security protocol.
- TikTok removed Vybe Together account for violating community policies.
- “We are aware that large collections are not okay, and we do not market them. If we see events being popular, we take them off!” said a spokesman for Vybe Together to Business Insider in an email.
- Immunologists and health professionals worry that New Year’s Eve may lead to an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths
- Fellowship Eventbrite removed two large party performances in San Francisco, per SF Gate, but has held on to hundreds of other invitations.
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TikTok said it has removed the account of Vybe Together, a “secret party app”
A Vybe Together video promoting “secret gatherings” in New York City every weekend with videos of crowds indoors without wearing masks was viewed nearly 11,000 times before TikTok removed the account for violating community policies. New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz first saw the app’s TikTok account.
—Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) December 29, 2020
“We’re like Eventbrite, but cooler,” a spokesman for Vybe Together said in an email to Business Insider. “Vybes can be anything from playing board games to bachata with your neighbors. Many people have been isolated and lonely, and we wanted to make it possible for them to meet. We are aware that large gatherings are not okay, and we promote them. “If we see events being popular, we’ll take them off!”
Vybe Together allows users to find and create private parties. Only members approved by Vybe Together can use the app.
After receiving criticism, Vybe Together removed its FAQ page, contact page and career page from the site. The only post left on the app’s Instagram reads “blown out of proportion by the media. We are NOT GOOD COLLECTIONS !!!” The Vybe Together website still asks users: “Do you miss playing beer bong, flirting with strangers, and generally having a lot of fun with the crew?” and invites them to, “Get your rebel on.”
According to LinkedIn, Alexander Dimcevski, a Baruch college alum, founded an app called Trendies in January 2020, which seems to have been given a new name like Vybe Together. The domain vybetogether.com was registered on September 14, 2020. Vybe Together did not respond to inquiries regarding the company’s incorporation date, headquarters or investors.
According to the website, Vybe Together is owned by Chaparone Corporation, which Dimcevski registered as a New York City business to a Manhattan address on January 24, 2019.
The Vybe Together app, which was first released in the App Store four months ago, but was quickly removed after Business Insider asked about it with Apple. An Apple representative did not respond to a request for comment.
Immunologists and other experts are concerned that New Year’s Eve may lead to an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. More than 63,000 people died of COVID-19 in December, marking that month as the deadliest of the pandemics. Government Gavin Newsom ordered a home order in California as ICU capacity reached critical lows this month, causing overcrowded hospitals to place patients in gift shops.
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Researchers and infectious experts have found evidence that COVID-19 spreads faster indoors among mask-free people, which can make small collections risky.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended staying home on New Year’s Eve. If Americans choose to rally, the CDC said wearing masks, staying six feet apart, avoiding crowds and avoiding alcohol and shouting.
Fellowship Eventbrite removed two large party performances in San Francisco, per SF Gate, but has held on to hundreds of other invitations. Critics on social media have asked Eventbrite to remove more entries due to the danger of COVID-19 transmission.
Eventbrite laid off 45% of its staff in April, Billboard reported due to the pandemic’s impact on the live events industry. Eventbrite reported 73% less net income in the third quarter of 2020 than in the same period last year.
“The COVID-19 global pandemic is a very dynamic situation for everyone, including event creators, who are hosts, facilitators and owners of the experiences on Eventbrite’s platform,” an Eventbrite spokesman said in an email to Business Insider. “Our Community Guidelines have always prohibited incidents that promote or contain illegal behavior, and our community plays an important role in reporting any entries or content about events.”
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Healthcare professionals recently told Business Insider that they expect COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to rise after Christmas and New Year’s Eve, which could exacerbate burnout among doctors and nurses.
“I’m pretty worried about the wave after the Christmas and New Year holidays,” San Harness-based nurse Jason Harrison told Business Insider. “I have not seen any indication that the population will change or reduce the journey.”