A couple of weeks ago, you’d definitely have been forgiven for not having heard of the Houseparty app.
But now, thanks to coronavirus isolation measures, if you don’t have this app you’re basically an old fossil who’s massively out of touch. Sorry about it.
The app – which is sort of like group FaceTime calls with fun games – has become hugely popular as we all try to maintain communication without being able to meet up in person. According to analytics firm Apptopia, the number of app downloads rose from around 130,000 per week in February, to 2 million per week in March.
But in the past few days there’s been rumours that the app isn’t secure. Various publications have reported on a series of online posts claiming that installing Houseparty caused other apps like eBay, Instagram and Netflix to be hacked on people's devices.
This prompted the app to publicly refute these reports on Twitter, saying that Houseparty is definitely secure.
All Houseparty accounts are safe - the service is secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords for other sites.
But now the whole drama has been taken up another notch.
Houseparty sent out another tweet which claimed the app has been subject to a “paid commercial smear campaign”. Incredibly, they are offering a $1m reward for proof of such a campaign.
Houseparty is owned by Epic Games, the company which also owns Fortnite – one of the most successful videogames in the world. In 2019, Epic Games was valued at $15bn, so we're pretty sure they can afford to pay the reward.
That said, there were lots of jokes... because, lets face it, this whole drama is a bit ridiculous.
@houseparty It was...............Rebekah Vardys account. Where’s my mill ?
At present there's no evidence has emerged that Houseparty isn't safe or that there's a smear campaign against them. But, to be honest, we're absolutely living for this bizarre feud (providing there's not actually any consequences for the app's users and this is indeed just rumours, of course.)
For now, the drama continues. But we'll of course keep you updated with further developments.