The Coronavirus pandemic and cities around the world on lockdown has forced people to work from home. As a result, many online communication tools are witnessing a surge in popularity.
One of them is Zoom, a popular video conferencing app that is sending “some analytics data” to Facebook even if users don’t have a Facebook account, reports Vice.
When installing the Zoom app on the iPhone, it connects to Facebook Graph API, which is one of the many ways Facebook collects user’s data through third-party apps.
UPDATE: In response to the findings, Zoom has decided to remove the Facebook SDK which was “was collecting unnecessary device data”, the company said in a statement.
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It has also rolled out an update to its iOS app. The update release notes mention “Improvements to Facebook Login.”
What data Zoom sent to Facebook?
According to the report, the Zoom iOS app notified Facebook as soon as the user opens the app. Secondly, the app sent details about the device model, the particular timezone, the city, and the carrier network. It also created a unique advertiser ID, which advertisers can use to send targeted ads.
— Marc Edwards (@marcedwards) March 24, 2020
While Facebook isn’t innocent as a lamb when it comes to protecting user’s privacy, in this particular instance, it does mention in its guidelines that third party developers need to explicitly mention “regarding the Customer Data collection, sharing and usage,” Meanwhile, Zoom is yet to comment on the matter.
Previously, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights activist, also raised a few privacy concerns against the app. The group said IT admins could access several details about the user, including the IP address and OS information.
Meanwhile, you can try out other video conferencing apps that have updated their framework in the wake of the recent spike in traffic.