Clubhouse and Stereo: What You Need To Know About the Latest Social Media Apps

You may have heard people talking about Clubhouse or Stereo, two social media apps which have been gaining popularity recently.

Read on to find out everything you need to know if you're considering joining either platform.

Clubhouse

Clubhouse is a voice-only social media network where users can listen and join in with live conversations on many different topics. It is like listening to a podcast, except it is happening as you listen and you can also take part in the conversation.

How do you join?

At the moment the app can only be downloaded on iPhones and you can only sign up by being invited by someone else who is already a member. When you join you will get two invites that you can share with other people to join too.

This may change in the future and become more easily accessible as the platform gains popularity. If you're an iPhone user without an invite, you can still download the app and reserve your username which will be kept for you until you're invited or the invitation-only feature is removed.

To use the app you must be aged 18 or over.

How does it work?

When you open up the app you will see “rooms” that you can join and take part in conversations with other users. You can come and go from these rooms whenever you like and explore different conversations.

You enter each room as an audience member, but if you want to talk you just raise your hand, and the speakers can choose to invite you up on to a virtual stage. Or you can create a room of your own.

Does it protect your privacy?

To use the app and set up a profile, you may need to provide information such as your name, phone number, a photo of yourself, an email address, and a username which Clubhouse will store to allow you to use the service and communicate with you.

The app advises that it does not sell your personal data, but may share it in some circumstances such as when working with other organisations to provide specific services for the app or if they are legally required to do so.

As the service is voice-based communication, some conversations may be recorded. The privacy policy explains that this is done to investigate cases where a user in a conversation reports a 'Trust and Safety' violation. Audio is kept in these cases until an investigation into the alleged violation is complete at which point the audio is then deleted. In all other conversations, audio is deleted when a room closes.

Read the privacy policy in full.

This article in Forbes raises concerns from experts that the app's use of third party data, or those who haven't actually signed up to the app, may break the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law. There have also been reported concerns about moderation and safety protocols on the platform.

Stereo

Stereo is another voice-based social media app where you can host, listen to or interact with live conversations with users across the world, you can also listen back to previous conversations.

How do you join?

Unlike Clubhouse, Stereo can be used on both Android devices and iPhones and can be downloaded through the App Store or Play Store.

You can complete the verification process and create a profile using your mobile phone number and after this, you'll be able to find your contacts who are using the app too, or you can invite others to join.

To use the app you must be aged 18 or over.

How does it work?

To join a conversation you can search for topics or people on the platform to see what live talks are happening and join in. There you can listen or interact by leaving your own audio messages, cheer or enter the queue to become a guest in the conversation.

You can start your own talks and chat with friends and followers or you can let the app pair you with a random user who has similar interests.

You can create an avatar on the app (the app doesn't use photographs) and these are animated when people in conversations talk. 

Does it protect your privacy?

When registering it will ask for your date of birth to confirm your age. It will also ask for other personal information such as email address, name and phone number.

You have the option to share your location at the city level in your profile but it is not compulsory.

Stereo says that it has a team of moderators who ensure Stereo Shows are free from hate speech and offensive content. Stereo also advises that it works with local authorities to ensure the platform is safe for users.

You can read exactly what data the app may collect and how it uses it through their Privacy Policy.

Find out more about keeping safe online on our DigiKnow? page.