Bang With Friends, the Facebook friend hookup app that seemed to be endlessly engulfed in one controversy or another earlier this year, is returning to the iOS App Store (albeit in a slightly toned-down form) after gettin’ the boot back in May.
For those who missed all the hubbub, even the concept behind Bang With Friends tends to get some people worked up: you open the app, and select which of your Facebook friends you’d want to
have over for a romantic steak dinner followed by a screening of The Notebook hook up with. It’s all kept anonymous, unless that same person picks you as a would-be fling in turn.
If there’s a match, Bang With Friends attempts to connect the dots. After a recent update, users can also mark a friend as someone they’d like to “hang” with. Why anonymity is required to say you’d want to hang out with someone you’re already friends with on Facebook, I have no idea.
Back in May, Bang With Friends wiggled its way into the App Store as the moderately more mild “BWF” (on Android, it ditches the acronym in favor of its full name.) Ten days later, however, Apple dropped the banhammer.
As you might expect, the app’s creators – who once tried to remain anonymous themselves, though their identities eventually leaked – protested the decision. They argued that they limited use of the app to adults, contesting that plenty of other apps served the same purpose, just without being quite as blatant.
“We’re working with Apple to get BWF back into the App Store shortly,” promised BWF’s site.
“Shortly”, here, eventually proving to mean “in three months”.
The app returned this morning, though not without its fair share of tweaks and changes to appease the powers that be. Gone are all traces of the word “Bang”; gone is the app’s uber suggestive launch screen imagery. The app is now called “Down”, its namesake “Down To Bang” button now reading just “I’m Down”.
Down to what, you ask? Down to share a pop? Down to go kiteboarding? It’s left open to interpretation (at least theoretically), vague and innocuous enough that it’d be hard to get too offended without already having been offended by the app’s earlier iterations.
The name change also works out alright in a few other ways. After the influx of users from their early controversies, the company had seemingly been trying to steer the app into less of a straight up hookup app into something a bit more broad, like a general dating/friend finding service – hence the introduction of the “Down To Hang” button.
Plus, there’s that whole Zynga lawsuit over the “with friends” trademark. It’s unclear as to whether or not the potential legal battle had any influence on the name change; while it gets them away from using “with Friends” on the App Store, the name remains unchanged for the company’s Android and web variants as of this morning. Their company name in the App Store is still listed as “Bang With Friends, Inc.”
The new, self-censored app is up on the App Store here.
What do you think? Can the app formerly known as BWF carry on in a milder form, in a world awash with Tinders and Grindrs and Let’s Dates and Swipes?