Earlier this week, it was reported that
had shut down accounts of protesters who were commemorating the 31st anniversary of Tiananmen Square protests. The company later confirmed that it had suspended the accounts under reported pressure from China but reactivated the accounts. Now, it looks like Zoom is set to further comply with such ‘requests’ from China.
According to an official blog post by the company, the video conferencing platform may come with a feature that could block users based on their geographical location. “Zoom is developing technology over the next several days that will enable us to remove or block at the participant level based on geography,” said the company in a blog post. The main reason behind this feature, as per the blog post is to “comply with requests from local authorities when they determine activity on our platform is illegal within their borders.”
The message here is that Zoom may just be willing to comply with the requests from the Chinese government to block or suspend users, according to a report by The Verge. Zoom, however, said that the move will allow it “to protect these conversations for participants outside of those borders where the activity is allowed.” Zoom specifically mentioned China in the blog post and said, “Going forward Zoom will not allow requests from the Chinese government to impact anyone outside of mainland China.”
In the recent suspension of accounts incident, Zoom had terminated the host accounts — one in Hong Kong and two in the US. “We shut down the meetings instead of
the participants by country. We currently do not have the capability to block participants by country. We could have anticipated this need. While there would have been significant repercussions, we also could have kept the meetings running,” the blog post further noted.
“The reality is Zoom operates in more than 80 countries and continues to expand, which requires compliance with local laws even as Zoom seeks to promote the open exchange of ideas,” explained Zoom in the blog.