Zoom Agrees to Pay $85 Million in Lawsuit Settlement Regarding User Privacy and ‘Zoombombing’

Zoom Video Communications, or Zoom, a San Jose-based corporation, has agreed to pay $85 million to resolve a legal action stemming from user privacy and ‘Zoombombing,’ but denies wrongdoing in the agreeing to the settlement. Additionally, it promised to strengthen its security policies and safeguards and to give specialized privacy and data handling training to its management and staff.

Zoom was sued for allegedly violating users’ privacy rights by sharing personal information with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google, as well as allowing hackers to disrupt Zoom meetings through a tactic known as Zoombombing. Zoombombing occurs when outsiders disrupt Zoom meetings by displaying pornography, using racist language, or posting other offensive content.

Zoom committed to implement security measures, such as notifying users when meeting hosts or other participants use third-party apps in meetings, and providing specialist privacy and data management training to employees.

A preliminary settlement filed on Saturday afternoon in San Jose, California, must be approved by US District Judge Lucy Koh. Subscribers who join the proposed class action will receive 15% refunds on their core subscriptions or $25, whichever is greater, while others may receive up to $15. Saturday’s settlement occurred after Koh allowed the plaintiffs to pursue specific contract-based claims on March 11.

Although Zoom earned almost $1.3 billion in membership fees from class members for Zoom Meetings, the plaintiffs’ attorneys deemed the $85 million settlement appropriate in light of the litigation risks. They aim to seek legal fees of up to $21.25 million.

Koh stated that Zoom was “mostly” immune to Zoombombing under the federal Communications Decency Act’s Section 230, which protects online platforms from liability for user content.

Zoom’s customer base has more than doubled after the COVID-19 outbreak pushed more individuals to work remotely. In April 2021, the company had 497,000 customers, up from 81,900 in January 2020. According to the company, user growth may moderate or even reverse as more individuals receive immunizations and return to work or school in person.