It may be impossible to delete your personal information from Houseparty and other social media services – despite privacy legislation!
My colleague Jake Moore recently published a blogpost Houseparty – should I stay or should I go now? The post intrigued me, not just for the title taken from the great 1982 song by the Clash. Jake, sensibly, suggests that when you no longer use an app, such as Houseparty, that you delete both the app and the account you created to avoid your personal data being left dormant on a server where it could possibly be prone to being part of the next data breach.
If you think deleting your account deletes all your personally identifiable information (PII) from instant messaging apps, then you may need to think again, and this is probably true for all services that encourage social interaction between friends and request permission to access the contacts on a user’s device to facilitate this. If, like me, you have never used Houseparty, you could be forgiven for assuming that the service does not hold any personal information on you; again, you may need to rethink this.
Your personal data, such as phone number and name, and maybe even email and physical address, may have been uploaded to servers of social media and instant messaging companies when they are granted permission to synchronize contact lists from your friends’ devices.