Zoom’s iOS App Sends Your Data to Facebook

The very popular video conference and meeting platform Zoom that allows people to work and socialize with one another from the comforts of their home during the quarantine has been sending all your data to Facebook without your consent, according to a Vice Motherboard article. Even if you do not have a Facebook account the Zoom iOS app will send any data collected while using their video conferencing software to Facebook. Zoom makes no mention of the collection or sale of this specific data anywhere in their privacy policy, exemplifying how many companies behind the scenes are always trying to collect as much data as possible discreetly.

How? The data being shared includes the time the app is launched, device and location information, phone carrier, and analytical data that can be used for targeted advertising. Zoom is able to share user data with Facebook regardless of a social media account being linked because Zoom’s video calling software uses Facebook’s software development kits (SDK’s). So as soon as Zoom is downloaded and launched, the software immediately connects to the Facebook Graph API. Facebook’s Graph API is “the primary way for apps to read and write to the Facebook social graph.” Or a way for businesses to monitor your social media activity and target you for advertising as they see fit. 

Using Facebook’s Graph API is not new though, a lot of companies over the years and also currently use Facebook’s data to help with marketing. Coders and developers have used Facebook SDK’s to add different features to their apps for as long as Facebook has offered software development kits, but Facebook’s terms of use explicitly require the app developers to inform their users that their data is being collected and shared.

Zoom’s privacy policy says “our third-party service providers, and advertising partners (e.g., Google Ads and Google Analytics) automatically collect some information about you when you use our Products,” but makes no mention of Facebook as one those third parties that information is shared with. Zoom is also not transparent about the data collection or the transfer of it to Facebook. Zoom’s policy says the company may collect user’s “Facebook profile information (when you use Facebook to log-in to our Products or to create an account for our Products),” but doesn’t specifically refer to anything about sending data to Facebook on Zoom users who don’t have a Facebook account.

If you have a Zoom account and rely upon their software for work, be weary of what information you are sharing while using their video conference platform. Zoom has yet to make a public statement or comment on these recent discoveries so be on the lookout to see if they respond. If you do not need to use Zoom for work, we recommend seeking out other apps or software to socialize with friends during this COVID-19 pandemic.