Users have complained of hackers using Houseparty to access their Paypal, Spotify and Netflix accounts
In the space of a few weeks, the Houseparty app has become nothing short of a sensation.
As millions have locked themselves away at home in self-isolation, Houseparty has emerged as a viral success , with a surge in downloads from an average of 156, 06 a week in February to more than two million a week in March, according to data firm Apptopia.
But as the app has risen in popularity, concerns have been raised about its safety.
On Tuesday, after reports emerged from users of their accounts being hacked, Houseparty tweeted that it was “investigating indications that the recent hacking rumors were spread by a paid commercial smear campaign”.
The company is offering a $ 1m (£ 823, 000 bounty to the first person who can provide proof for such a campaign, but as millions continue to use the app during the coronavirus outbreak, how exactly does the app work, is it safe to use and how do you delete it?
How it works
The free to use app, owned by the developer of Fortnite , allows users to play in-app games and quizzes, as well as allowing them to make video calls with contacts in what has been designed to feel like a real house party.
When contacts come online, a push notification is sent to let others know so a “room” can be organized for friends to join. Rooms can be locked to limit conversations to people who know each other, or can be left open for strangers to join.
Whenever you open Houseparty, everyone you are connected with on the app will receive a ping notification
Can I control who I add to Houseparty?
You have to add each friend on the app before you can chat together. When signing up, you can connect your Facebook or Snapchat account, showing you who already has the app installed.
You do not have to add every person you know – if you do, you increase the risk of random people jumping into your Houseparty chats.
However, people will get a notification when you first sign up too. You can deny requests to be friends on Houseparty.
Can I stop random people jumping into my Houseparty conversations?
Yes, you can prevent people from going into each conversation by locking a room when everyone you wish to talk to has entered.
Can I avoid being spotted on Houseparty?
Whenever you open Houseparty , everyone you are connected with on the app will receive a ping notification, which can lead to a deluge of people popping up to chat with you – and, because of the nature of the app, there is no warning or accept button, they will just appear.
There is a way to avoid being seen this way, however. Hold the app icon down on Android or iOS, and a “Sneak in” option will be on offer. Selecting this will prevent a notification going out.
You can also stop individual people from receiving a notification by ghosting them. This can be done by selecting the person’s name, tapping the cog icon, and switching Ghosting on.
How can I delete my Houseparty account?
The process is relatively simple on iPhones. To delete your account, click on the user icon in the top left corner of the screen and tap the Settings button.
Click through to privacy and tap “delete account”. You will then be asked if you are certain you want to delete your account. Click yes and enter your password, then tap delete.
Currently, there is no direct way to delete the Houseparty app on Android. You will need to email su[email protected] to request for your account to be deleted.
You should also ask for your personal details, such as email address, profile picture and phone number, to be removed from the app.
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