Info-tech

Zoom sharing user data with Facebook even if they don’t have FB accounts: Report

Mumbai | Updated on March 27, 2020

Video-conferencing app Zoom is reportedly sharing user data with Facebook irrespective of whether the user has a Facebook account, according to an analysis by tech website Motherboard.

The Zoom app, which has gained popularity recently as more people have been pushed to work from home amid the Covid-19 pandemic, is sending some analytics data to Facebook even if the user doesn’t have a Facebook account, the report said.

According to the analysis, many apps use Facebook's software development kits (SDK) to include certain features within their app. Using Facebook’s SDK allows the app to share user data with the company.

As a user downloads and opens the Zoom apps, it connects the app to Facebook's Graph API. The app then notifies Facebook about user activity, including when a user opens the app, the user’s device details, including model, the time zone and location, along with the network carrier they are using.

It also shares a unique advertiser identifier created by the user's device. This identifier can be used by companies to target consumers with advertisements, according to the report.

However, according to Motherboard, Zoom users may not be aware that their data is being shared with Facebook.

Will Strafach, an iOS researcher and founder of a privacy app, Guardian, confirmed the report's findings, Gadgets360 reported.

Zoom’s’privacy policy has no mention of these findings. However, the policy states that Zoom may collect a user's Facebook profile information when they use Facebook to log in to the app.

Facebook requires developers to be transparent about sending data to Facebook. According to Facebook’s privacy policy, any developer using its SDK must provide sufficient information to users about customer data collection, sharing and usage.

This may prove to be a potential breach of user privacy, apart from other privacy issues earlier laid out by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Zoom did not respond to Motherboard’s request for comment.

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Published on March 27, 2020

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