Clubhouse Criticized Over User Privacy Policies

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    How does the trendy new audio-chatroom app Clubhouse handle user privacy? Recode reports: What if you didn’t give Clubhouse access to your contacts, specifically because you didn’t want all or any of them to know you were there? I regret to inform you that Clubhouse has made it possible for them to know anyway, encourages them to follow you, and there isn’t much you can do about it. When I joined, I didn’t give Clubhouse access to my contacts; as has been my policy since childhood, only I may decide who enters my clubhouse. Nevertheless, a few minutes later, I had a bunch of followers from my contacts. Even worse: I got followers who weren’t in my contacts at all — but I was in theirs. It turns out that your privacy on Clubhouse depends not just on what you do but also on what those who have your information in their contacts do. For now, you can only get invited to Clubhouse through your phone number, which is attached to your account and can’t be removed. So if someone has your phone number in their contacts, and they’ve given Clubhouse access to those contacts, they’ll get a notification when you join the app and a recommendation to follow you… It’s not clear why Clubhouse doesn’t have better options for users to manage their privacy or more information for users about how their data might be used or linked to them. The company is reportedly operating with a small staff, but it also has millions of users and millions of dollars worth of funding from major Silicon Valley venture capital firms, including Andreessen Horowitz, and a valuation of $1 billion. It’s not the first well-funded social media app to push the boundaries of data privacy. But you’d at least think Clubhouse would have learned from the unicorns that came before it. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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