Virtual socializing apps boomed in the pandemic. But can they last?

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For its first few years, Teleparty seemed doomed to be a niche product. The browser extension, which lets multiple people sync up their Netflix accounts so they can watch the same thing at the same time, was a hit among couples in long-distance relationships. Otherwise, few people had even heard of it. And then, in March 2020, the app suddenly found itself with a planet’s worth of potential users. Lockdowns weren’t so great for cinemas or the economy as a whole. But for Teleparty, they were “a huge accelerant,” chief executive Shaurya Jain says. “We definitely grew a lot.” And they weren’t alo…

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