Zoom sued for covertly sending user data to Facebook
Zoom, the video conferencing app that shot to fame after billions were put on lockdown due to the spread of COVID-19, has been sued for sharing user data without permission. The company was caught sending information of its users to social media giant Facebook, but the practice was stopped after widespread criticism from the public. Here's what went down.
Class-action lawsuit against Zoom
As Bloomberg reports, an existing user of Zoom has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company for disclosing their and other users' personal information to Facebook. The suit, filed in a California court, alleges that despite witnessing a significant spike in its active user-base, Zoom didn't safeguard their personal data and passed all that information to the social network, without proper notification/declaration.
Here's what the user claimed in the lawsuit
"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. ("Facebook"), invading the privacy of millions of users."
What kind of information was sent to Facebook
According to Motherboard Vice, which first revealed the sneaky data sharing practice, the Zoom app for iOS was caught sending analytics data to Facebook's Graph application programming interface (API). The batch of data spotted by the outlet included things like users' location, their devices' advertiser identifier information as well as the unique ID that lets companies send targeted ads.
Data shared when users were not on Facebook
Later, Zoom removed the data-sharing code, apologized
After the issue surfaced, Zoom updated its iOS app to remove the data-sharing code and stop the unauthorized and unnecessary information disclosure to Facebook. The company also apologized for the mistake, noting that it takes its "users' privacy extremely seriously." However, so far, it has not commented on the lawsuit filed in relation to the matter.
Still, Zoom continues to drive businesses
Despite this debacle, Zoom continues to go strong in the video-conferencing space, allowing employees of several companies to communicate with each other while working from home due to COVID-19. The growing user-base of the app has also seen its stock spike over 100% since January.