What is Zoom?
Eric Yuan founded the company in 2011
Zoom is a digital video conference service.
The service is available online or via mobile app. Users can enter Zoom calls through a URL on a computer or phone, or they can use the Zoom app and enter a meeting ID to join a call.
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Entrepreneur Eric Yuan founded the company in 2011, and on April 18, 2019, an IPO was made at just $36 per share. Zoom can be used for business conference calls, virtual health checkups, virtual classrooms, virtual birthday parties or other friendly gatherings and more.
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Zoom's basic plan, which is free for all users, includes access to meetings with more than 100 participants. Zoom's other plans, which range from $15/month to $20/month, allow 200 or more users.
The platform's popularity skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic because it provided an easy-to-use interface for virtual gatherings that have helped keep businesses afloat and relationships intact while people are encouraged to social distance.
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Zoom's 2020 first-quarter earnings are expected to be released on June 2.
With such a huge and unprecedented surge in demand for the service, Zoom has faced a number of challenges to protect user privacy and provide a secure platform to all of its users.
Zoom has grown from 10 million daily video call participants 2019 to 300 million in April when COVID-19 cases began to increase in the U.S. and more people were told to work from home as local lockdown restrictions tightened. Due to its large influx of users, Zoom has also come under the scrutiny of Congress, state lawmakers and the FBI for privacy and security.
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One such issue included the viral trend of "Zoombombing" -- the act of internet trolls hacking into or simply entering unprotected conference calls to disrupt meetings. The trend took off in March and April. Some Zoombombing incidents were harmless and even funny while others led users to feel they were in danger, with hackers displaying pornographic images, writing racist words in chats, or making otherwise threatening comments.
The company has since added a number of additional safety features to ensure the safety of users and prevent Zoombombing instances such as required passwords, limited screen sharing, the ability for hosts to chose who comes in and out of meetings and other basic setting changes, according to a regularly updated blog post.
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Zoom also received criticism for allowing Facebook and LinkedIn to have access to some user information even if users had taken measures to conceal information, according to a lawsuit against the company. Zoom has since addressed the issue and disabled its "log in with Facebook" feature.
Additionally, the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab published a study in early April that found the company had ties to China and significant security flaws, including faulty encryption standards.
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"In our urgency to come to the aid of people around the world during this unprecedented pandemic, we added server capacity and deployed it quickly — starting in China, where the outbreak began. In that process, we failed to fully implement our usual geo-fencing best practices," Yuan said in an April 3 response to the findings.
Yuan has been very apologetic about Zoom's flaws and has worked to be transparent about the company's issues and updates in recent months.