Zoom says engineers will focus on security and safety issues

Multiple faults found in video conferencing platform that has gained hundreds of thousands of users a day

A student in Barcelona takes online classes at home, with his companions, using the Zoom app, on Thursday. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

A student in Barcelona takes online classes at home, with his companions, using the Zoom app, on Thursday. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

 

Zoom, the hit video conferencing platform, will freeze new feature development and shift all engineering resources on to security and safety issues, its founder has said.

The move comes as the company battles the damage caused by a string of minor scandals ultimately related to the same scrappy approach that enabled it to capitalise on the wave of global lockdowns in the first place.

“We have fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations,” said Zoom’s founder and chief executive, Eric Yuan, in a blogpost on Thursday. “For that, I am deeply sorry.”

Since it began gaining hundreds of thousands of users a day, Zoom has come under increasing scrutiny from privacy campaigners, security researchers and members of the public, who have found faults in the platform’s programming, policies and practices.

Repurposed

Some stem from the fact that a tool originally designed for enabling corporate communications has been repurposed for a wide range of consumer uses, from strangers meeting up for virtual “happy hours” to children’s book groups and remote sessions of Dungeons and Dragons.

But others relate to the company’s approach, modelled on the notorious Facebook maxim “move fast and break things”, of finding unorthodox solutions to problems, which may not always hold up under closer inspection. – Guardian service