False Houseparty hacking rumors saw 1 million delete the app last year

“I spent a long time trying to find the source of this misinfo at the time. I found no evidence of a deliberate smear campaign, Houseparty’s claim.”

What you need to know

  • Houseparty is shutting down in October.
  • A new report has revealed insight into a hacking scandal last year.
  • It says false claims led to 1 million people uninstalling the app.

A new revelation in the wake of Houseparty’s announcement that it will shut down next month has revealed 1 million people deleted the app following rumors of a hacking problem last year.

Houseparty announced Thursday that the app would shut down in October:

Houseparty said that tens of millions of people had used the app since 2016, and gave no further background as to why it was closing down. However, the announcement has brought some new info to light about a hacking scandal the app went through last year.

From March 2020:

Houseparty is offering $1 million to anyone who can provide evidence that it has been targeted by a paid commercial smear campaign after thousands of accusations that the app had compromised user accounts for other services appeared on Twitter.

As we reported yesterday, hundreds of users took to Twitter over the weekend to suggest that since downloading the Houseparty app, the security of their other internet accounts for services like Netflix, Spotify and Instagram had been compromised.

Now the BBC’s Joe Tidy says that there wasn’t a campaign to speak of, that didn’t stop 1 million people uninstalling the app:

Tidy says he found “no evidence of a deliberate smear campaign”, save one Scottish woman on Facebook who “wrongly claimed” Houseparty had hacked her phone. Houseparty denied all of the claims at the time and even offered $1 million for proof of a smear campaign against the company. Tidy said the incident “hit the app hard” at a time when it was on a “massive Zoom-like” trajectory, and that whilst it might not have killed the app by itself, it must have been a factor.

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