Zoom has reversed course (again) and updated its terms of service after a backlash earlier this week. Following consumer blowback to a recently highlighted update to its terms which appeared to grant the platform the unlimited ability to use customer data to train AI models, it now says it will not use any consumer data to train AI models from Zoom or third parties. The previous wording said it wouldn’t do so “without customer consent,” which raised eyebrows since “consent” was (at best) a gray area for people joining a call (and acknowledging a pop-up) in which the meeting organizer enabled the feature and already agreed to the terms.
Zoom’s changes were listed in a preamble update to its previous blog post. “Following feedback received regarding Zoom’s recently updated terms of service, particularly related to our new generative artificial intelligence features, Zoom has updated our terms of service and the below blog post to make it clear that Zoom does not use any of your audio, video, chat, screen-sharing, attachments, or other communications like customer content (such as poll results, whiteboard, and reactions) to train Zoom’s or third-party artificial intelligence models,” the notice reads.
Indeed, the previously troublesome section 10 in Zoom’s terms of service, related to AI and consumer data, has also changed. “Zoom does not use any of your audio, video, chat, screen sharing, attachments or other communications-like Customer Content (such as poll results, whiteboard and reactions) to train Zoom or third-party artificial intelligence models,” the updated version reads. The previous variant of that section, even after Zoom made concessions in response to the blowback, appended the phrase “without customer consent.” But since “consent” seemed to be granted by simply joining a meeting (maybe even one required for your job) and acknowledging a popup, some users saw this as a potentially sneaky loophole to harvest AI data in situations where people don’t have much choice. The new version removes that ambiguity.
“We’ve updated our terms of service (in section 10) to further confirm that Zoom does not use any of your audio, video, chat, screen-sharing, attachments, or other communications like customer content (such as poll results, whiteboard, and reactions) to train Zoom’s or third-party artificial intelligence models,” Hashim stated in the revised blog post. “In addition, we have updated our in-product notices to reflect this.”