The founder and CEO of popular—and now notorious—video conferencing platform has admitted to “missteps” in an interview with CNN, in light of several privacy and security concerns brought under the spotlight recently. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan also sent a message to Zoom users on the company blog apologising for having “fallen short” of necessary standards, explaining that the company was ill-prepared to deal with the sudden influx in users.
“We did not design the product with the foresight that, in a matter of weeks, every person in the world would suddenly be working, studying, and socializing from home. We now have a much broader set of users who are utilizing our product in a myriad of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived.
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.”
In the interview, the Zoom CEO also said that hard lessons have been learned, and that the company will be placing more emphasis on privacy and security. During the next 3 months (90 days), Zoom is also intending to shift all engineering resources to focus on privacy/security issues, while 3rd party expertise will be consulted. Yuan also promises to host a weekly webinar online every Wednesday to provide updates to Zoom users.
For some context, Zoom is a video conferencing app that has gained a significant number of users as a indirect consequence of various COVID-19 lockdown measures around the world. Yuan says that during early stages platform had around 10 million daily users, with that number swelling to 200 million daily meeting participants in March 2020. Multiple major enterprises around the world have utilised Zoom’s conferencing utilities, with Boris Johnson even using Zoom to hold a cabinet meeting online.
The aggressive growth was something that Zoom was clearly unprepared for, however. Reports of “Zoom-bombing” where trolls unilaterally join rooms to broadcast inappropriate content have added to concerns over Zoom sending back data to Facebook, and even the potential loss of Windows credentials. These have culminated in a class action lawsuit against Zoom in the U.S., even.
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