Zoom Admits ‘Mistakenly’ Shutting Down Activist Accounts

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Addressing concerns expressed by US lawmakers about its alleged proximity to the Chinese government, the company behind the viral video chat app, Zoom, has acknowledged that it shut down the accounts of several anti-government activists in China at the behest of the country’s communist regime. In a blog post last week, the company said that it terminated several meetings and deactivated several accounts for commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The company, however, claimed that it did not provide the Chinese government with information about those who attended these meetings. It also clarified that the app doesn’t have a backdoor that allows someone to enter a meeting without being visible.

Zoom also admitted that its actions had affected activists from outside mainland China. The company said that it had ‘mistakenly’ terminated the accounts of one user in Hong Kong and two in the US. It also acknowledged that it should have blocked individual participants by country rather than shutting down entire meetings.

Without apologizing for the ‘mistake’, the company said that such incidents won’t recur in the future. “Going forward Zoom will not allow requests from the Chinese government to impact anyone outside of mainland China”, said the post. The company also claimed to have reinstated the accounts of three prominent activists whose accounts were suspended earlier.

In terms of how Zoom plans to deal with government censorship going forward, the company said it will continue to comply with local regulations as applicable. “Zoom is developing technology over the next several days that will enable us to remove or block at the participant level based on geography”, the post said. “This will enable us to comply with requests from local authorities when they determine activity on our platform is illegal within their borders”.

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