The latest Zoom update removes the Facebook SDK responsible for the app sharing data with Facebook, even if a user did not have a Facebook account.
The data sharing was originally discovered by Motherboard, and involved the Zoom app sharing a disturbing amount of data with Facebook, regardless of whether a user had a Facebook account or not. This didn’t sit well with many users, especially as the app has achieved near-default status as the videoconferencing tool of choice as millions of individuals work from home.
Zoom has since released an update removing the offending SDK, as well as offering an explanation of what happened:
“We originally implemented the ‘Login with Facebook’ feature using the Facebook SDK for iOS (Software Development Kit) in order to provide our users with another convenient way to access our platform. However, we were made aware on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, that the Facebook SDK was collecting device information unnecessary for us to provide our services. The information collected by the Facebook SDK did not include information and activities related to meetings such as attendees, names, notes, etc., but rather included information about devices such as the mobile OS type and version, the device time zone, device OS, device model and carrier, screen size, processor cores, and disk space.
“Our customers’ privacy is incredibly important to us, and therefore we decided to remove the Facebook SDK in our iOS client and have reconfigured the feature so that users will still be able to log in with Facebook via their browser. Users will need to update to the latest version of our application that’s already available at 2:30 p.m. Pacific time on Friday, March 27, 2020, in order for these changes to take hold, and we strongly encourage them to do so.”
This change is good news for everyone concerned with privacy. Given Facebook’s abysmal track record, there’s simply no reason to be sending the company data unless absolutely necessary—which in this case it was not.