Zoom, The wildly successful video chat service, a ubiquitous feature of life during the COVID-19 epidemic, said it closed three accounts at the request of the Chinese government to memorialize victims of peaceful protests in Tianmen. Square on 4 June 1989.
As Axios first reported, the accounts of Li Cheouk-yan, Wang Dan and Zhou Fengsuo were shut down by the video communications service to plan and hold vigils and events in memory of the Tianmen Square Massacre.
As of Zoom’s own timeline, the company was informed by the Chinese government about four big, June 4 commemorative meetings that were being promoted on social media. The Chinese government demanded that Zoom end meetings and host accounts. In response to a request from the Chinese government, Zoom In determined that three out of four incidents involved participants from mainland China and were aware of or discussing illegal incidents under Chinese law.
Close Zoom In Meetings.
The company also suspended host accounts, which were based in Hong Kong and the U.S.
Zoom, in his statement, blamed the decision by the company on its inability to block participants in the country. The company admitted, “We can estimate its need.
To correct its error, Zoom stated that it would “have to develop technology over the next several days that would enable us to remove or block at the participant level based on geography. This will enable us to comply with requests from local authorities when they determine activity on our platform is illegal within its boundaries; However, we will be able to protect these conversations for participants outside the boundaries where activity is permitted. “
Zoom attributed his decision to acquaint the Chinese government as a result of operations as an international company. “We hope that one day, governments that create barriers to separate their people from the world and recognize each other that they are acting against their own interests, as well as those of their citizens and all humanity Rights, “the company wrote in the statement. “The reality is zoom-driven and continues to expand in more than 80 countries, which also requires compliance with local laws in the form of zoom to promote open exchange of ideas.”
This is not the first time that Zoom’s privacy and security policies or the company’s potentially very sweet relationship with the Chinese government have been questioned. The company also came under fire for routing some of its calls in China, with some calling the company a mistake, when the practice was first reported in April.
The company has previously acknowledged that much of its technological development is done in China and security concerns from governments are over. Both Taiwan and India have banned the app for government use, and the US government and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs are restricting the use of the app for government purposes.
Despite all the security lapses and criticism, the use of Zoom has skyrocketed. It now has over 300 million users of streaming video communications services.
Full details of the company are given below:
We hope that one day, governments that create barriers to separate their people from the world and recognize each other work against their own interests as well as the rights of their citizens and all humanity are doing. The reality is that Zoom operates in more than 80 countries and continues to expand, which also requires compliance with local laws as Zoom seeks to promote open exchange of ideas. “
In recent articles in the media we have questioned our commitment to be a platform for open exchange of ideas and conversations about adverse activities towards Li Cheuk-yan, Wang Dan and Zhou Fengsuo. To be clear, their accounts have been reinstated, and going forward, we will have a new process to deal with similar situations.
We will do better because we will try to make Zoom the most secure and reliable way to bring people together.
- In May and early June, we were notified by the Chinese government about four large, public June 4th commemorative meetings on Zoom, which were being promoted on social media, including details. The Chinese government informed us that this activity is illegal in China and demanded that Zoom terminate meetings and host accounts.
- We did not provide any user information or meeting content to the Chinese government. We do not have a backdoor that allows anyone to enter the meeting without being visible.
- For a meeting, even though the Chinese authorities demanded that we take action, we elected not to keep the meeting short because it had no participants from mainland China.
- For two of the four meetings, a U.S.-based zoom team reviewed meeting metadata (such as IP addresses) while the meeting was in progress, and confirmed a significant number of participants, primarily from China.
- For the fourth position, the Chinese government showed us a social media invitation for an upcoming meeting, which mentioned the commemoration event on 4 June and we called for action. The Chinese authorities also informed us of an earlier meeting under this account which they considered illegal. A US zoom team confirmed the presence of mainland China participants in that prior meeting.
- Zoom does not have the ability to remove specific participants from the current meeting or prevent participants from a certain country from joining the meeting. As such, we decided to terminate three of the four meetings and suspend or terminate the host accounts associated with the three meetings.
How we fail short
We only try to limit the action required to comply with local laws. Our response should not have affected users outside of mainland China. We made two mistakes:
- We have suspended host accounts, one in Hong Kong SAR and two in the U.S. We have restored these three host accounts.
- We close the meetings instead of blocking the participants by country. We currently do not have the ability to block participants by country. We could anticipate this need. While there would be significant results, we could also run meetings.
The work we are taking
- Going forward, Zoom will not allow requests from the Chinese government to influence anyone outside mainland China.
- Zoom is developing technology over the next several days that will enable us to remove or block at the participant level based on geography. This will enable us to comply with the requests of local authorities when they determine activity on our platform is illegal within its boundaries; However, we will also be able to protect these conversations for participants outside the boundaries where the activity is permitted.
- We are improving our global policy to respond to such requests. We will outline this policy as part of our Transparency Report, which will be published by June 30, 2020.
In addition to connecting people for business, education, healthcare and other professional endeavors, people around the world are opting for human connections during this global epidemic zoom. Zoom is proud of the role we are playing globally and supports the open exchange of ideas and conversations that bring communities together to meet, organize, collaborate and celebrate.