Zoom Stops Sending Data to Facebook Without Permission

Company pulled code that sent anonymized device info to the social media company

Why This Matters:

Zoom use has exploded since the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions to stay at home. Ensuring that it’s safe, secure, and private for its millions of newbie users is critical.

Zoom
 Zoom

Zoom is done sending data to Facebook without your permission. The massively popular online video chat platform announced it was removing the code that shared device info with the social media giant.

Why now? Motherboard discovered the code in Zoom last week and noted that Zoom’s terms of service did not make it clear that some of your data would be shared with Facebook, whether you were on Facebook or not.

We all use it: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, few consumers had heard of or used Zoom, but its use has skyrocketed in the past 30 days, with many consumers joining and using the service for the first time to keep in touch with family, friends, and co-workers.

Why Zoom: Zoom is free, powerful, and has fewer limits (like number of call participants) than other video conferencing platforms.

What Zoom Collected

  • Mobile operating system type
  • Time zone
  • Device model
  • Carrier
  • Screen size
  • Processor cores
  • Disk space

We didn’t mean it: To Zoom’s credit, it didn’t dodge Motherboard’s findings, but instead apologized, telling Motherboard it “takes [its] users’ privacy extremely seriously.” The company thought the Facebook code would give its customers, many of whom are on Facebook already, an easier way to log in (and perhaps connect with other Facebook friends).

What did Zoom do: The company already removed the code and has posted an app update. However, until you install that update, Zoom's app will continue to collect device data.

Bottom line: Any time a company collects user data, there’s always the possibility it could be shared with third-parties (think advertisers). There’s no indication Zoom did this, but tracking and controlling your data is important for every consumer. Zoom’s fast action here, especially at this time, should be applauded.

Learn More About Video Conferencing