Zoom – a video conferencing software – has boomed overnight during the COVID-19 pandemic, with millions more suddenly working from home. However, alongside the surging number of users, criticisms against Zoom Video Communications have been mounting.
In December 2019, the maximum number of daily meeting participants on Zoom was around 10 million – by March 2020 this had reached more than 200 million. Zoom’s share price has also skyrocketed, increasing some 115% from late January to late March this year.
Zoom is easy to use and offers free calling options, which has made it a popular choice. However, the concerns of Zoom users have also been growing. These have included the trend of ‘Zoombombing’, where trolls hijack meetings.
Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom Video Communications, said in a message published to the company’s blog yesterday, “These new, mostly consumer use cases have helped us uncover unforeseen issues with our platform.”
Earlier this week a class action was brought against Zoom Video Communications in California, which alleges that Zoom failed to properly safeguard the personal information of its users.
The California lawsuit read: “Upon installing or upon each opening of the Zoom App, Zoom collects the personal information of its users and discloses, without adequate notice or authorization, this personal information to third parties, including Facebook, Inc., invading the privacy of millions of users.”
According to the New York Times, the office of New York’s attorney general Letitia James is also investigating Zoom Video Communications over its data privacy and security practices.
“We recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations. For that, I am deeply sorry, and I want to share what we are doing about it,” Yuan said.
The company said that on the 27th of March they removed the Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK) in their iOS client and reconfigured the feature so that users can still log in with Facebook via their browser: “We were made aware on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, that the Facebook SDK was collecting device information unnecessary for us to provide our services.”
Yuan said they will be hosting more training and tutorial webinars and demos, including a weekly webinar hosted by Yuan himself on privacy and security updates.
To help combat Zoombombing, they have uploaded an information resource that details how to avoid a Zoombombing incident, which can be viewed here.