(Photo: Reuters/Michael Dalder)
A national school campus ministry group is warning college students and other young people about a new social media app that facilitates sexual encounters between Facebook friends who are anonymously interested in having sex. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA is calling "Bang With Friends" the evilest app ever.
"InterVarsity cares about college students and about living out biblical truth – this app is not healthy for students or consistent with Christian ethics," Adam Jeske, the organization's associate director of communications, told The Christian Post via email. "Don't go anywhere near this app! And that's not just for college students, but advice I give to myself and to my friends – what real good can come from something that explicitly exists to help us secretly connect and have sex?"
Jeske who wrote the blog post, "The Evilest App Ever," said he became interested in warning others about Bang With Friends after reading about it on a business media website.
The app is reported to have been created by three anonymous college students. The app is so unique that even some tech media types are calling it "the simplest, most disruptive app Facebook has seen in a long time."
After a Facebook user installs the app it lists his or her Facebook friends of the opposite sex. The user then clicks "if you'd like to 'bang' them, and no one ever knows . . . that is, unless one of those friends installed the app and elected to bang you, too," describes tech writer Mark Wilson in his article about the app.
Creators of the app say that 10,000 couples have been matched so far, about a week's time. The app's launch page indicates that its Facebook page has 109,000 "Likes."
InterVarsity published its warning on its own website because the organization tries to support effective ministry on campus and in its affiliated churches through its national blog, Jeske said. "We did this piece to make people aware of a new development running counter to the teachings of Jesus. We want to shine light in the darkness, naming evil for what it is, for our own lives and that of society more broadly," he said.
InterVarsity is not being shy about getting the word out about the app, using social media to promote the article and its warning.
"I think Bang With Friends provides an opportunity to speak candidly about faith and ethics with our friends on campus," Jeske told CP. "Will this help us maintain real friendships? Will we be happier if we use this app? Does this really respect other people? Is this good for a 13-year-old to use? What might be the long term effects of using this?"
He said reaction to InterVarsity's blog post includes people thankful for drawing attention to the dangerous app, as well as people sad or outraged that the app even exists.
"I think Christians in college should be in authentic Christian community, communicating openly about their questions, issues they face, and ways in which they're pulled away from the way of Jesus," Jeske said. "I think InterVarsity can be a part of that, and we all need to be involved in the local church."
He warns, "Nothing like this has been quite so accessible to so many people before – there could be really massive negative societal effects, including within the church. So I think it's good for us to call a spade a spade. And if this app catches on, I wonder how the founders will feel about playing a significant part in wrecking people's friendships, relationships, and even marriages."
InterVarsity USA is based in Madison, Wis., and has almost 900 chapters active at 576 U.S. colleges, from Ivy Leagues to community colleges.