Did Zoom go too far in pleasing users?

Prashant Bagga
2 min readMay 12, 2020
Claudiu Hegedus, Unsplash
Claudiu Hegedus, Unsplash

Once the pandemic hit, Zoom saw a tremendous surge in users. Daily meeting participants went from 10 million in December to over 300 million in April.

With that popularity came reports of Zoom’s security and privacy issues. These are just a few of them –

1. Zoombombing
2. Bypassing security mechanisms to install the software
3. Capturing videos of private calls and using it to sell ads

Zoom has been secretly doing this behind the scene for years. But why did we only hear about it now?

Many of these issues are “deliberate features designed to reduce friction in meetings which, also by design, reduce privacy or security”.

Users wanted to jump on a video call with fewer clicks — so Zoom thought bypassing security mechanism was the “right decision”. Users loved it!

The company forgot that now it became really easy for hackers to secretly stalk users.

“The very media outlets that are now criticizing Zoom have been praising it for years. Zoom ‘turned frustration into a $1B valuation,’ […] Forbes said just last year. Now their headlines read: ‘most should avoid an ‘out of control’ Zoom.’” — Simon Pitt

Why didn’t media and security experts investigate Zoom when everything seemed too good to be true.

For years, Zoom delivered on demands of non-technical users even though it required compromising security.

“In many ways, the most worrying thing about this is how many other companies behave in a similar way to Zoom, but haven’t had this level of public scrutiny.” — Simon Pitt

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Prashant Bagga

Product Manager • previously @Microsoft • Musings at prashantbagga.com