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Zoom for iOS Shares Data With Facebook Even if a User Doesn’t Have a Facebook Account: Report

Zoom app’s privacy policy does not mention the usage of Facebook SDKs that requires sending data to Facebook by default.

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Zoom for iOS Shares Data With Facebook Even if a User Doesn’t Have a Facebook Account: Report

Zoom is a video conferencing app that has gained prominence amid coronavirus outbreak

  • Zoom is also sending data of those iOS users who aren't on Facebook
  • The privacy policy does not mention this transfer of data
  • Zoom uses Facebook’s SDKs that require sending information to Facebook

Video conferencing app Zoom has picked up popularity ever since people have been forced to work from home due to the coronavirus outbreak. Now, a report claims that Zoom is sending some analytical data to Facebook from iOS users, even if a user does not have Facebook account. It also claims that Zoom does not make this transfer of data clear in its privacy policy. An analysis of the Zoom app by Vice media's Motherboard shows that the video conferencing app uses Facebook's software development kits in order to provide certain features. The usage of Facebook's software development kits, however, sends information to Facebook by default, something Zoom users may not be aware of.

"That's shocking. There is nothing in Zoom's privacy policy that addresses that," an activist from Privacy Matters was quoted as saying.

According to the analysis, here is what Zoom sends across to Facebook:

  • The Zoom app notifies Facebook whenever the user opens the app.
  • It provides Facebook details of the user's phone such as the model, and which telecom operator they are using.
  • It also tells Facebook the time zone and the city they users are connecting from
  • -A unique advertiser identifier created by user's device which companies can use for targeted advertising.

Zoom Privacy Policy doesn't make things clear

An iOS researcher and founder of a privacy app called Guardian, Will Strafach, also confirmed the report's findings, which also says that there is nothing in Zoom's privacy policy that addresses this transfer of data.

Zoom's privacy policy says that the company may collect a user's Facebook profile information when you use Facebook to log in. But it does not mention anything about sending data to Facebook on users who do not even have a Facebook account.

Facebook told Vice that it requires developers to be transparent about sending data to Facebook. Its privacy police states that if an app or a developer is using Facebook's SDKs, they further “represent and warrant that you have provided robust and sufficient notice to users regarding Customer Data collection, sharing and usage.”

On the other hand, Zoom's privacy policy says “our third-party service providers and advertising partners automatically collect some information about you when you use our products.” The Zoom privacy policy, however, does not mention this with regards to Facebook specifically.

Apart from this, the report also lays out other privacy issues with Zoom. Citing a report from Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), it said that hosts in Zoom calls can see if participants have the chat window open or not. Administrators can also see IP address, location data and device information of each participant.


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Further reading: Zoom, Facebook, Data Privacy, Zoom for iOS
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