Zoom – My Concerns


Since I had to postpone my tenth edition of beyond tellerrand in Düsseldorf (date TBA) and it is unsure, if Berlin or Munich editions are taking place in this strange year, I was trying to work on an online setup for beyond tellerrand. Not to replace the live events – I don’t think this will ever be the same, especially for what I do with beyond tellerrand – but to create a platform, where we can exchange, meet and inspire each other in a time, when it is simply not possible to meet live and in real.

Now, I was testing a couple of platforms to host online meetings, webinars and events of all kinds. During the last two weeks those services had a huge boost and run on their services.

Lists with tools, services and tips for online events are popping up, like these:

Next to this, a lot of Slack channels pop up for event organisers and existing ones have more or less one topic only right now: Online Events.

So far I tested about 10 different platforms to host events on and somehow Zoom is the one that I always return to. For some reason it feels closest to what I want to do with being able to access your camera, to see each other, to speak to each other and not only write in a chat. As I don’t want to the many cool opportunities that pop up now, where people host workshops, webinars or try to port their live conferences into the web, I always came back to Zoom for the mentioned reasons above.

I wish that the people from Hopin would reply to any of my emails. I have written a couple of times, used the “Get Early Access” button, but within the last three weeks no one ever got back to me sadly. What I read on their website sounds nice, but I can’t sadly test it and tinker with it.

But back to why I have not started, what I have in mind right now: I am simply not sure, if I want to identify my event, even if only online, with what Zoom as a company is representing. Last year they were in the news, that, without telling the user, they’d secretly install a web server on your Mac, while installing the Zoom app. This was so bad, that I thought I never gonna use Zoom again. It was so hard to remove this server from your Mac again, that Apple even published a silent Mac update to remove it. (Here is a more detailed blog post by John Gruber about this whole issue and also about many more details, like the way Zoom runs the installer etc.)

Now another issue popped up: Zoom sent data to Facebook – even if you don’t have a facebook account – WTF?!

Well, the code now is said to be removed and they also have a web version (see here on how to use it, which is not as feature rich, but which does not need to install anything and which you can run in a private window, but it still leaves a bitter taste to it. What’s coming next?

And therefore: Do I really want to use a service for my events, where a company knowingly does this kind of stuff? What do you think?