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Zoom backpedals, says it will no longer use user content to train AI

A person conducting a Zoom call on a laptop while sat at a desk.
Zoom

Like everyone else, Zoom has added AI features to improve its app and videoconferencing service. We all love the ease and speed AI provides, but there are often concerns about the data used to train models, and Zoom has been at the center of the controversy. It’s backpedaling now, saying it won’t use user content to train its AI models.

News leaked in May 2022 that Zoom was working on emotion-sensing AI that could analyze faces in meetings. Beyond the potential for inaccurate analysis, the results could be discriminatory.

More recently, privacy concerns have arisen since Zoom updated its terms of service to allow the use of people’s data to train its AI model. Following a backlash, Zoom adjusted the language to provide more transparency about this issue and clarified how the option works.

In bold text, the first update read, “For AI, we do not use audio, video, or chat content for training our models without customer consent.” It’s that last part about consent that was a little tricky. Zoom wouldn’t use your data to train its models across the board, but it would if you consented. That consent was automatically applied when you engaged a Zoom IQ feature.

Zoom has updated its blog once again, though. Now, it flat-out denies that the company will use user content to train its AI models, regardless of consent. Now, the terms of service reads: “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.”

Zoom also says it has updated its in-app notices about privacy to reflect this change. Given how often the policy has changed over the past week, it’s possible that Zoom will update its terms of service down the line. For now, at least, Zoom is no longer using user content to train its AI models.

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Alan Truly
Alan is a Computing Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is…
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