Houseparty app owner Epic Games says it has been the victim of a public smear campaign against the service, offering a substantial $1 million (£810,000) reward for any evidence of it taking place.
Users on Twitter claimed that they were denied access to applications such as Netflix and Spotify after they downloaded Houseparty. Some users also claimed that they were locked out of their own bank accounts.
Houseparty offered the reward in a Twitter post, stating: “We are investigating indications that the recent hacking rumours were spread by a paid commercial smear campaign to harm Houseparty.
“We are offering a $1,000,000 bounty for the first individual to provide proof of such a campaign.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Epic Games said: “We’ve found no evidence to suggest a link between Houseparty and the compromises of other unrelated accounts.
“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.”
Houseparty has become one of the most downloaded apps across the world since the outbreak of coronavirus, with people forced to stay at home to avoid the spread of the virus.
According to Apptopia, downloads rose from an average of 130,000 per week mid-February to two million a week in mid-March.
The app enables group video chatting through mobile and desktop apps. On average, users spend approximately 51 minutes per day on the app in group or one-on-one chats.
The app has seen controversy since its inception, with many questioning the safety of some of its features.
Some experts have warned of a spate of ‘gate crashers’ jumping into conversations uninvited on the app, allowing for the spread of inappropriate images and videos being shared.
The company tweeted: “All Houseparty accounts are safe – the service is secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords for other sites.”