In spring 2020, not only did the teleconferencing platform Zoom experience an onslaught of new users who were now social distancing due to the COVID-19 crisis, but it also faced its own crisis due to the privacy of its product. For those working in technical and professional communication, the Zoom example illustrates not only a way to communicate in an emergency but also a way that privacy can cause a crisis in the first place. Drawing from literature on crisis communication and the experiences users described in the Zoom CEO’s blog post, the author concludes that while Zoom did indeed have technical issues that contributed to its privacy crisis, users also experienced its technology in unexpected ways, and the company underestimated the privacy expectations of its new users. Zoom’s privacy crisis ultimately provides a useful discussion of why it is increasingly important for companies to incorporate privacy by design and to be frank about their privacy practices with a public who has a growing interest in, and dissatisfaction with, corporate privacy practices.

, , , ,,
Journal of Business and Technical Communication
Department of Media and Communication

Young, S. (2020). Zoombombing Your Toddler: User Experience and the Communication of Zoom’s Privacy Crisis. Journal of Business and Technical Communication. doi:10.1177/1050651920959201