news zoom ios app shares user data with facebook without explicit notice
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Zoom iOS App shares user data with Facebook without explicit notice

With many people staying home in compliance with social distancing and isolation measures intended to flatten the COVID-19 infection curve, video chat apps like Zoom are seeing increased usage. Zoom, in particular, has rapidly risen in popularity. However, with an increase in popularity comes an increase in scrutiny. According to an analysis by Motherboard, the Zoom iOS app sends user data to Facebook.

The Zoom app notifies Facebook when the user opens the app, details on the user’s device such as the model, the time zone and city they are connecting from, which phone carrier they are using, and a unique advertiser identifier created by the user’s device which companies can use to target a user with advertisements

What makes this discovery troubling is that Zoom’s privacy policy does not make it at all clear that the app sends this data to Facebook. Zoom’s privacy policy states that “our third-party service providers, and advertising partners (e.g., Google Ads and Google Analytics) automatically collect some information about you when you use our Products.” Facebook is one of these third party service providers, given that Zoom uses Facebook’s Graph API, but this fact is not at all made clear in the privacy policy. Facebook’s terms of service require the following:

For apps, a clear and prominent link that is easily accessible inside your app settings or any privacy policy and from within any store or website where your app is distributed that links to a clear explanation (a) that third parties, including Facebook, may collect or receive information from your app and other apps and use that information to provide measurement services and targeted ads, and (b) how and where users can opt-out of the collection and use of information for ad targeting.

Zoom’s privacy policy does not appear fulfill these requirements. The only mention of Facebook in Zoom’s privacy policy concerns Zoom’s use of Facebook profile information upon logging into Zoom via Facebook. However, Zoom shares data with Facebook regardless of whether you even have a Facebook account. Motherboard notes that the data Zoom shares with Facebook is similar to the data that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found Ring was sending to Facebook, prompting Ring to update its privacy settings.

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Nathan Wasson

Nathan Wasson

Inquiring mind, tech journalist, car enthusiast, gamer.

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