Zoom Video Communications Inc.’s rise as a lifeline for many businesses and individuals during the pandemic is drawing the company into a fraught are
Zoom Video Communications Inc.’s rise as a lifeline for many businesses and individuals during the pandemic is drawing the company into a fraught area that has caused problems at much larger tech firms: policing its service.
Zoom has been criticized by some lawmakers and users in recent months after it blocked public events planned on its service around politically sensitive topics. At times, those who it blocked as well as their allies have accused the company of censorship, echoing charges some lawmakers last week leveled at the chief executives of Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Google-parent Alphabet Inc.
Zoom was founded in 2011 largely to provide video-communications services to businesses. But when Covid-19 struck, Zoom won popular adoption, including by many academic institutions. Many of those users have relied on a free service the company has offered. Corporate customers still account for the bulk of its revenue.
Zoom said users may not use its service to break the law, promote violence, display nudity or commit other infractions. The policies are similar, though not as sweeping, as those of social-media companies that also target posts where groups masquerade as others. The videoconferencing app’s rules have evolved this year, and the company has said it wasn’t well-prepared to handle politically sensitive issues when its use took off during the pandemic.
In cases where Zoom has taken action and blocked a public event, the company has said it acted once it became aware of a virtual gathering that would transgress its rule or local laws. “Zoom does not monitor meeting content,” a company spokeswoman said.