Zoom Video Conferencing IOS App Shares Data with Facebook: Report

With the entire world reeling from the rapid spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people (students, teachers, groups of friends) have turned to video conferencing options like Zoom to stay in touch, or to continue their education while maintaining social distance. In fact, Zoom has exploded in popularity since the Coronavirus pandemic started spreading through the world.

Joseph Cox noted in his report for Vice that every time you open the app, it sends your data to Facebook. It includes the device’s model, network provider, time zone, city, and a unique device identifier that advertisers can use to send you targeted ads.

The company’s privacy policy makes no mention of it. Plus, the app doesn’t make it clear anywhere that it’s sending your data to the social network.

Facebook’s policy about using its SDK (Software Development Kit) and tracking Pixels is quite clear. A website or app using it has to explicitly mention that your data is being shared with third-parties, including Facebook. Plus, it has to provide an option to opt-out of tracking. Zoom doesn’t address these points at all.

Past week,EFF pointed out some of the privacy risks in using Zoom’s products. The report said IT admins of your company can access a bunch of information about you during a meeting including your device information, IP address, and operating system. Plus, the app has an attention tracking feature, which is off by default, that allows hosts to check if a participant’s Zoom app window is active or not on their desktops.

It might be hard for you to avoid Zoom completely, especially if your colleagues or clients use the service. However, instead of using the app, you can join the meeting by opening the link in your browser (on mobile or desktop), and avoid the app’s intrusive features.

Zoom also mentions that the service will collect Facebook data if a user logs-in with Facebook or creates a Zoom account using Facebook. But again, it doesn’t mention that even if a user doesn’t have a Facebook account, the app still collects and sends data to Facebook anyway.

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