Safe spaces in online environments can be all too tricky. No matter what precautions one can take, you'll never quite know who you might be interacting with, especially when it comes to dating apps. And few apps come with a more inherent risk factor than one supposedly designed for teens and young adults. To that end, Wizz has generated plenty of controversy since 2023. Originally advertised as a "Gen Z social app," Wizz garnered plenty of popularity since it launched in 2019.
The app has become something of a dating platform for minors. As of 2023, had garnered more than 14 million downloads throughout its lifespan and had an average of 1.5 million daily users on the platform. At the height of its success, however, the app received backlash for its alleged unsafe user experience. By no coincidental turn of events, the app has seemingly been removed from app stores in 2024. What happened to the app? Here's what know so far.
The Wizz app was removed from app stores, with support citing a "technical issue."
On Jan. 31, 2024, users began reporting strange occurrences surrounding Wizz. Many of them have been posted to the official r/Wizz_app subreddit.
Some users reported that they couldn't send messages containing links from other apps like Snapchat, Instagram, or TikTok and that attempting to do so would get their accounts restricted. Others complained that the app wouldn't work without an update, which subsequently led to the most troubling news surrounding the app.
In attempting to update or re-download the app after deleting it, many users reported that Wizz had been completely scrubbed from all of the app stores. Active users aren't able to update the app to access its features, and users who deleted the app in an attempt to clear any glitches can no longer get it back.
The official Wizz Instagram account even posted several updates on their Stories.
The support team pinned the blame on a "technical hiccup" with Wizz and claimed that they were working "super hard" to get it up and running again. They also warned users against uninstalling the app during this time.
They even posted a joke story in response to their removal, stating, "You guys are so sweet, we might unban everyone. Just kidding lol."
While the explanation of a "technical hiccup" might be cold comfort to some, Wizz's removal from app stores has some suspicious timing. Since July 2023, Wizz has come under fire for its lack of parental controls and safety protocols when it comes to its user base of minors. NBC News reported that some users have been extorted into exchanging sexually explicit photos on the platform, with over 100 such cases having been reported at the time.
While these controversies haven't been explicitly linked to the app's removal from app stores, it's difficult to separate the negative backlash and Wizz's attempts to rectify it. As of this writing, Wizz hasn't been restored to full functionality.
Wizz released an official statement regarding their trust and safety policies. A company spokesperson said, "We have zero tolerance for scams and inappropriate behavior of any kind on the platform, and we are constantly innovating to ensure Wizz is leading the industry on user safety. We've developed a Comprehensive Safety Ecosystem, where all written and visual content is moderated, age verification is required, and where user-reported situations are immediately addressed.”
Regarding the app Apple and Google Play stores, they said, "Apple and Google are seeking more information on our app, and we are working closely with their teams to clarify our platform's extensive safeguards for users. We hope to resolve this matter soon."