Video conferencing company Zoom, which rose to prominence at the beginning of the pandemic, is set to pay $85 million in a lawsuit settlement over privacy issues.
The lawsuit accused Zoom of violating the trust of millions of people by sharing the personal information of users with Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and others.
The case also targeted the disruptive practice of “Zoombombing”. The term was coined to describe hackers breaking into videoconferencing meetings uninvited. The hackers often displayed pornography, used racist language, or posted other disturbing content.
The proposed agreement must still be approved by a district judge. A hearing on the settlement is scheduled for Oct. 21 in San Jose, California.
Millions of Americans could be eligible for a slice of the settlement if they have used Zoom since March. Court documents estimate the payment amounts are expected to be $34 or $35 for those who subscribed to Zoom’s paid version, and $11 or $12 for those who used the free version.
As part of the settlement, Zoom agreed to create additional security measures. This includes alerting users when meeting hosts or other participants use third-party apps in meetings and providing training to employees on privacy and data handling.
In a prepared statement, Zoom said it acted quickly to tighten security after reports of Zoombombing began to surface.
“We are proud of the advancements we have made to our platform and look forward to continuing to innovate with privacy and security at the forefront,” the statement read. Zoom did not acknowledged any wrongdoing in the settlement.
Stay-at-home orders transformed the company’s videoconferencing service from a niche product into a cultural phenomenon. Almost overnight it became the go-to venue for business meetings, schools, and social gatherings.
Zoom’s annual revenue quadrupled last year to nearly $2.7 billion. At the end of April, it had 497,000 customers that employed at least 10 workers and subscribed to the premium version of zoom. That’s up from 81,900 customers before the pandemic. Zoom’s stock price tripled and traded close to $380 Monday.