As millions have locked themselves away at home in coronavirus self-isolation, Houseparty has emerged as a viral success. There has been a surge in downloads from an average of 130,000 a week in February to more than two million a week last month.
ow does Houseparty work?
We’ve found no evidence to suggest a link between Houseparty and the compromises of other unrelated accounts
The free to use app, owned by the developer of Fortnite, allows users to play in-app games and quizzes.
This is in addition to allowing Houseparty users to make video calls with contacts in what has been designed to feel like a real-life house party.
When Houseparty contacts arrive online, a push notification is sent to let others know so a Room can be organised for friends to join.
Houseparty Rooms can be locked to limit conversations to people who know each other or can be left open for strangers to join.
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Is Houseparty safe?
Numerous posts have appeared on social media from Houseparty users reporting how the app has resulted in their other online accounts – including Netflix, eBay, Instagram and Spotify – being hacked.
Houseparty subsequently sent a tweet to users saying all accounts are safe and confirmed it does not collect passwords for other sites.
In a statement, the service said it has found “no evidence” of such a breach.
A Houseparty statement wrote: “We’ve found no evidence to suggest a link between Houseparty and the compromises of other unrelated accounts,” a spokeswoman said
“As a general rule, we suggest all users choose strong passwords when creating online accounts on any platform.
“Use a unique password for each account, and use a password generator or password manager to keep track of passwords, rather than using passwords that are short and simple.”
Jack Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at online security firm ESET, says the reputational damage to Houseparty could be “catastrophic”, with people already deleting their accounts “in the fear of being hacked”.
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Can you control who is added to Houseparty?
Users have to add each friend on the app before you can chat together on the app.
When signing up, users can connect their Facebook or Snapchat account, revealing who already has the app installed on their phone or laptop.
Users do not have to add all their contacts – and if they do, they significantly increase the risk of random people jumping into their Houseparty conversations.
However, people will receive a notification upon first signing up.
Users can fortunately always deny requests to be friends on Houseparty.
People can also prevent people from going into each conversation by locking a Houseparty Room when everyone welcome to talk has entered.
How to avoid being spotted on Houseparty:
Whenever you open Houseparty, everyone you are connected with on the app will receive a ping notification.
This can result in numerous people popping up to chat and, because of the nature of the app, there is no warning or accept button.
There is, fortunately, a way to avoid being seen this way.
Hold the app icon down on Android or iOS, and a “Sneak in” option will be on offer, which will prevent a notification going out.
You can also stop individual people from receiving a notification by ghosting them.
How to delete a Houseparty account:
The process of deleting a Houseparty is relatively simple on Apple iPhones.
To delete a Houseparty account, click on the user icon in the screen’s top left corner and select the Settings button.
Click through to privacy and tap Delete account in the Houseparty app.
Users will next be asked whether they are certain they wish to delete their account.
Click yes and enter your password, then tap delete.
Currently, there is no direct way to delete the Houseparty app on Android.
Users should next email [email protected] to request for their account to be deleted.
Houseparty users should also ask for their personal details, including an email address, profile picture and phone number, to be removed from the app.
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