Video chat tool, Houseparty, offers million dollar reward to squash hacking rumors

Need some extra cash? The popular video conferencing tool, Houseparty, is offering a reward of $1 million for hard evidence that someone is leading a smear campaign against the app, and they’re putting eagle-eyed subscribers to work.

The announcement comes on the heels of recent rumors from users that they were locked out of various third-party social media apps like Facebook, Netflix, Spotify and Paypal accounts after downloading the app.

The Houseparty app has seen the largest increase in downloads and users (an average of two million downloads per week in March) following the global outbreak of COVID-19. Now that the hashtag #HousepartyHacked is trending, the platform is seeing a mass exodus as users rush to secure their information. 

So, what is Houseparty?

The Houseparty app allows users to easily host free video chats between friends and play games to keep subscribers connected and engaged. Although the app has seen a sudden surge in popularity thanks to the Shelter in Place movement, it’s actually been around since 2016 and was purchased by Epic Games (the company behind Fortnite) in 2019. 

Is Houseparty safe to use?

Upon further investigation, the company believes the hacking rumors to be the result of a paid commercial smear campaign against the brand. On March 30, Houseparty also announced a $1 million reward for proof of the campaign.

A Houseparty spokesperson claims the company became suspicious of an attack on the brand when the original tweets and accounts spreading the claim were deleted upon further investigation. 

“It’s a disheartening situation for a service like ours that’s bringing people much needed face-to-face social connections and empathy at a critical time.”

The platform has had no success with their investigation as of yet. A handful of users have responded to Houseparty’s bounty announcement with false leads and some are just requesting the money. 

And although Houseparty has publicly attempted to squash the rumors, the app is continuing to trend on Twitter alongside the buzzword “hacked,” as users are putting comical spins on the very real request for information.

Looking for more ways to connect with friends and friends? Check out some additional resources that have grown in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic.