In brief: Houseparty, the video conferencing and gaming app, is offering a $1 million reward to anyone providing proof it was the victim of a paid commercial smear campaign.

Houseparty, which was bought by Epic Games in 2019, has experienced a surge in popularity following the lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic. Its daily downloads have jumped from 24,795 per day on February 15 to 651,694 on March 25.

Yesterday, there were reports of social media users claiming their Netflix, eBay, Snapchat, and Spotify accounts had been hacked after installing the Houseparty app on their phones. Later posts urged people to delete the app, and some claimed Epic Games was preventing users from removing it from their devices.

Houseparty put out a statement assuring users the app was secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords from other sites, but the damage to its reputation had already been done.

"We've found no evidence to suggest a link between Houseparty and the compromises of other unrelated accounts," a spokesperson for Epic Games said.

"As a general rule, we suggest all users choose strong passwords when creating online accounts on any platform."

Now, Houseparty claims it was the victim of a smear campaign, and is offering $1 million to anyone who can prove this.

While experts have analyzed Houseparty and found no evidence of anything out of the ordinary, users should beware of gate crashers—people who can enter unlocked chats uninvited, provided they are connected to someone taking part.

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