Zoom CEO says company reached 200 million daily users in March

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Video conferencing company Zoom announced this week that around 200 million daily meeting participants used its services in March as the coronavirus forced people to stay home, up from a maximum daily average of 10 million in December. 

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan announced the spike in a blog post, saying usage had “ballooned overnight” to far surpass expectations. Around 90,000 schools in 20 countries were among those using Zoom as people worldwide have increasingly turned to the platform for everything from work meetings to happy hours.

The company has faced concerns in recent days about its cybersecurity and privacy policies, issues that Yuan vowed to address. 

“For the past several weeks, supporting this influx of users has been a tremendous undertaking and our sole focus,” Yuan wrote. “However, we recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s — and our own — privacy and security expectations. For that, I am deeply sorry.”

These issues have included the new phenomenon of “Zoom bombing” in which an uninvited individual or group has disrupted educational, social or other meetings, often screaming offensive statements. The company also had a class-action lawsuit filed against it this week by a user following reports that Zoom was sending some analytics data to Facebook. 

Yuan said the company “appreciated” the scrutiny from journalists and security experts in recent weeks, saying the concerns raised would “make Zoom better.”

In order to address the company’s problems, Yuan detailed steps taken including removing Facebook’s software development kit to stop the collection of unnecessary user data, updating Zoom’s privacy policy to be more transparent, giving tips to users to prevent Zoom bombings and offering more specific programs for classes on Zoom. 

In the next 90 days, the company also intends to conduct a third-party security review of its platform to root out vulnerabilities, do cyber penetration tests and begin weekly webinars detailing Zoom privacy and security upgrades. 

“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,” Yuan wrote. “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.”

The efforts Zoom is taking to address security and privacy concerns come on the heels of several lawmakers looking into the company.

On Tuesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter to Yuan asking questions around how the company was protecting users, and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has zeroed in on Zoom as well. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told The Hill on Wednesday that he is also looking into Zoom. 

The company has seen a surge in its stock prices as its user numbers have increased, with Business Insider estimating that Yuan has made nearly $4 billion in the past three months alone. 

Tags Coronavirus Digital media Eric Yuan Facebook Letitia James Privacy Richard Blumenthal Ron Wyden Social media Zoom Zoom Video Communications
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