Zoom Video Communications coincided with a preliminary settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed on Saturday afternoon for $85M. This deal comes as a reaction to the lawsuit filed against the video-conferencing company’s alleged sharing of personal user data to Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, as well as instances of ‘zoombombing’.
Zoombombing: Invasive and humiliating
Zoombombing became a frequent issue when unknown and uninvited participants ambushed Zoom meetings, often performing harmful acts of racism and intolerance. The FBI got involved and later issued a warning in March of 2020 against ‘teleconference hijackings’. Reportedly virtual classrooms were being invaded, and illicit material along with politically incorrect statements became frequent causes of a nuisance. Users were urged to report any such incidents.
Zoom has also allegedly disclosed users’ personal information to giants such as Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn.
Zoom shot to fame during the coronavirus pandemic when the majority of the official workforce were forced into home quarantine and work from home arrangements. Zoom’s user base has grown from 81,900 in January 2020 to 497,000 in April 2021.
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The spike in the user count has triggered an exponential need to improve security and privacy features to help protect customers and their rights. Although Zoom is protected against liability of user enforced content via the CDA federal law, Zoom has promised to upgrade its security infrastructure to enforce a healthier digital environment better.
Zoom had collected a total of US $1.3B in subscriptions, but according to the plaintiff’s lawyer, then US $85M settlement is a reasonable call given the risks. They, however, intend to seek another US $21.25M in legal fees.
Subscribers part of the lawsuit is eligible for a 15% refund on their respective subscription value or the US $25, whichever is higher, while others receive up to the US $15.