Zoom has said that it will be introducing a new block feature that will allow users to block users based on their location as requested by the Chinese government. Recently it has taken down three accounts from Hong Kong and the USA.
Zoom received a lot of criticism for suspending the users who were having meetings regarding the June 5th Tiananmen Square massacre. Zoom later clarified that it restored the accounts and was actually working on tools to enable a blocking feature.
“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. “This will enable us to comply with requests from local authorities when they determine activity on our platform is illegal within their borders.”
This news will give rise to concerns that Zoom will block and suspend anyone to comply with the will of the Chinese government.
Zoom has further said that the Chinese government told the company that four meetings will take place to pay tribute to Tiananmen Square massacre victims. The company found out that three of those meetings would have participants from mainland China, and later disabled their accounts. Zoom has said that the accounts have been restored and the company will not take any action in the fourth meeting.
The company has also said that if it had the feature to block participants it would not have ended the entire meetings.
“Going forward Zoom will not allow requests from the Chinese government to impact anyone outside of mainland China,” said Zoom.
Many activists have called out Zoom for having complied with requests of the Chinese government.
“My purpose of opening Zoom is to reach out to mainland Chinese, breaking the censorship of the Chinese Communist Party. With this policy it defeats my original purpose,” a campaigner said, labeling Zoom’s move “shameful.”