Zoom use has spiked dramatically thanks to the pandemic, with most people using the video service for hangouts with friends and even sex parties.
Online nudity has always been a problem, with most companies applying restrictions in their services as a way of protecting themselves from backlash. Zoom, the video conference app that has experienced a pronounced rise in usage since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, is the latest service to enforce measures that aim to control nudity.
Zoom was initially designed to host business meetings, but the pandemic has thrown their business model out of wack. Data from the month of March shows that there’s over 200 million daily users logged into the app. For reference, before the pandemic struck the U.S., Zoom had 10 million users.
It’s an understatement to say that the app’s scope has expanded, with people logging on to not just host business meetings, but to drink with friends, catch-up with family, attend school sessions, get married and…you know, hold sex parties.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, a representative from Zoom explained that the app’s user policies “prohibit any obscene, indecent, illegal, or violent activity or content on the platform.” The spokesperson then explained that Zoom is primarily a business app, one that uses machine learning and other tools at their disposal to ensure that users are complying with guidelines. They’re also encouraging people to report and flag this kind of behavior.
Although Zoom didn’t explain how they monitor people’s video chats, different experts report that Zoom video chats are not stored on the platform unless the host is recording the meeting. They also claim to have a signal with end-to-end encryption, meaning that there’s likely no way for the company to monitor calls.
Nudity has never been a black and white issue, much less on the internet, where companies tend to take measures that sometimes backfire. Zoom is currently battling a host of issues, ranging from trolls that bomb Zoom meetings with racial and homophobic slurs, to encryption problems that make photos, emails and chat leaks possible. Consenting adults that are venting their frustrations with the pandemic through digital sex parties don’t seem to be the right problem to focus on.