For many Americans, however, it involves “Zoombombing,” the phenomenon where uninvited internet trolls join your meeting and use the video conferencing app’s screen-sharing feature to do something highly offensive. Zoombombing stunts exploded in popularity in the early 40s. Unsurprisingly, the perpetrators were often high school and college students. The incidents frequently involved pornography or hate speech, and the situation became serious enough that groups like the Anti-Defamation League created posts such as “Steps to Take During a Zoombombing Incident”.
Zoom was not responsible for these trolls, but it has been responsible for keeping them away from your Zoom calls. In 2020, several app users filed a lawsuit, arguing that Zoom had failed to protect their privacy. Their complaints turned into a class action lawsuit claiming that Zoom was sharing personal data with third-party sites like Facebook, Google and LinkedIn without permission, and not doing enough to protect users from these Zoombombings.
Zoom denied the allegations, but quietly agreed to settle the lawsuit last August. The settlement required the company to set aside $85 million — and essentially anyone who used Zoom between the dates of March 30, 2016 and July 30, 2021 is entitled to the money. The only trick is the deadline: it is imminent. You have until Saturday March 5 to file a claim.
The amount you receive will vary depending on the type of account you had during this period. If you were a paying subscriber, you could receive either 15% of the total you paid between those two dates, or $25, whichever is greater. If you were not a paid subscriber, you are entitled to $15.
The Settlement Administrator has set up an online form that you can use to submit your claim. If you weren’t a registered user at the time, the site notes that you’ll need to provide documentation showing you were using Zoom – for example, a copy of a meeting invitation showing the date and ID number. Of the reunion.
The obvious fine print also applies: the cash payouts could change if a ton of people file claims (it’s a firm $85 million, less legal fees, though divided multiple times).
Zoom, again, did not admit any wrongdoing, but as part of the settlement, it also agreed to notify users when someone starts using a third-party app during a meeting. He also promised to give training on privacy and data handling to employees.
The company isn’t quite out of the woods yet, either: It still faces separate claims of securities fraud over it, particularly the accusation that Zoom falsely told users that video calls were end-to-end encrypted, to prevent outsiders from eavesdropping. (A 2019 prospectus signed by CEO Eric Yuan boasted of Zoom’s “robust security capabilities, including end-to-end encryption.”) Last week, a federal judge in California dismissed Zoom’s request to dismiss the allegations.