Zoom has found itself in hot water again, this time over suspending accounts at the request of the Chinese government.
In a blog post, the company details how it was approached by Chinese officials regarding multiple accounts that were hosting large meetings commemorating the anniversary of Tiananmen Square. In three of the four instances, Zoom suspended the accounts due to a large number of the participants being from mainland China.
The company points out that all three of the suspended accounts have since been reactivated, and outlines the mistakes it made in how it handled China’s requests, as well as what it is doing to prevent this situation in the future. Specifically, while the company must comply with local laws, Zooms says that it should not have taken action that impacted those outside of China by shutting down the meetings and suspending or terminating the three accounts.
Instead, Zoom says it should have blocked participants by country or let the meetings run. Currently, the company does not have the ability to block participants by country, but rightly acknowledges it should have anticipated such a need.
In the meantime, the company says it will no longer allow requests from the Chinese government to impact users outside of China, and will update its policies for handling such matters.
On the technical side, the company is working on the ability to block participants by country.
“Zoom is developing technology over the next several days that will enable us to remove or block at the participant level based on geography,” reads the blog post. “This will enable us to comply with requests from local authorities when they determine activity on our platform is illegal within their borders; however, we will also be able to protect these conversations for participants outside of those borders where the activity is allowed.”
Despite these steps, US lawmakers are already asking for clarification from Zoom regarding this fiasco, according to Reuters.