Zoom 'sends your location, device and habits' to Facebook – even if you DON'T have an account

ZOOM is handing user info off to Facebook even if they don't have an account with the social media site, a new report claims.

The hit video-calling app has seen a surge in popularity in recent weeks as the coronavirus crisis forces people to self-isolate – and rely on tech to communicate.

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Businesses are using the app to chat remotely, but it's also being picked up by the general public for virtual pub quizzes and online socialising.

But the app isn't without problems: last year, a Zoom flaw (now fixed) allowed people to turn on your webcam remotely.

Now a report by Motherboard warns that Zoom is sending information to Facebook.

This is happening even if a Zoom user doesn't have a Facebook account, the analysis suggests.

And the report warns that the data transfer isn't made clear in Zoom's privacy policy.

According to the report, only the iOS version of Zoom is offending.

Apps sending data to Facebook is an extremely common phenomenon, but Zoom users may not be aware it's happening.

"That's shocking, there is nothing in the privacy policy that addresses that," said Pat Walshe, a researcher at Privacy Matters, speaking to Motherboard.

Zoom hands over a wide range of info to Facebook.

Facebook learns when you open the app, and details on the device you're using.

Your time zone, city, and phone carrier are also sent across.

And Facebook also receives a unique advertising ID so that you can be targeted with more specific ads.

You don't even need a Facebook account to be tracked – because advertising IDs don't need to be linked to a social media profile.

It means Facebook can build up a better picture of who you are for advertising purposes.

This isn't necessarily Facebook's fault, either: Facebook's own terms say app makers need to be explicit about data collection.

We've asked Zoom for comment and will update this story with any response.

In other news, a hilarious Zoom prank lets people skip virtual meetings by creating looping videos of themselves.

Find out how to change your Zoom background.

And, check out the best apps for working from home.

What's your favourite video chat app? Let us know in the comments!

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