Thinking Of Joining Clubhouse? The Membership Fee Could Be Your Privacy
HWM Singapore|April 2021
With leading media and business influencers such as Oprah Winfrey, Kanye West, Drake and Elon Musk enthusing about Clubhouse, the invitation-only ‘drop-in audio’ app has created massive awareness and interest globally, even though it’s still in beta mode. It claims to have 10 million users, up from 2 million in January 2021, and its US$1 billion valuation makes it a tech unicorn ranking alongside the likes of Uber and AirBnb.
Dr Sharat Sinha, Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific & Japan, Check Point Software Technologies

However, as with any new and fast-growing social media app, there are signs of growing pains, in the form of questions about its security and privacy, both in the sign-up process and how well it protects its content. So just what is Clubhouse, and what are the security concerns associated with it?

Clubhouse is an audio-based social network in which people have conversations that a virtual audience can listen to. Effectively, it is like a collection of exclusive live podcasts or radio shows, with the topics grouped into a range of categories such as business, culture, politics and so on. Clubhouse states that the conversations disappear when they are finished, and cannot be recorded. Currently, the app is only available on iOS for iPhones, and people can only join with an invitation from an existing member, which means the app does not appear on Apple’s App Store.

WHAT DOES CLUBHOUSE MEMBERSHIP COST?

Although it is free to join if you are invited, the questions over Clubhouse’s privacy start with the sign-up process. When someone is invited to join by an existing member, the app accesses to all of the person’s contacts on their device in order to help them find other Clubhouse users. The app also encourages users to connect their Twitter and Instagram accounts as another way to find people (or for people to find them).

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