Zoom corrects earlier claim to say it has 300 million participants and not users

The company clarified that its participants refer to individuals who participate in multiple meetings a day rather than unique users

The logo for the Zoom Video Communications Inc. application is displayed on an Apple Inc. laptop computer in an arranged photograph taken in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Friday, April 10, 2020. Zoom's shares have soared in 2020 as the popularity of its video conferencing service has grown during a time of widespread lockdowns aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

Zoom Video Communications said its virtual meeting application has 300 million “participants” a day, correcting an earlier claim of that number of daily active users. Shares fell about 7 per cent.

The company said last week in a blog post that its number of daily users jumped 50 per cent to 300 million within three weeks in April. Now, the San Jose, California-based company has clarified that number to explain it includes duplicate individuals who participate in multiple meetings a day rather than representing discrete users with Zoom accounts.

“We want to be clear: this was first announced in our April 22 webinar as 300 million daily participants by our chief executive Eric Yuan,” Zoom said Thursday in a statement. “In a follow-up blog post on April 22 recapping this webinar, in addition to referring to participants as ‘participants,’ we also inadvertently referred to them as ‘users’ and ‘people.’ When we realised this error on April 23, we corrected the wording to ‘participants.’ This was a genuine oversight on our part.”

Shares fell to a low of $133.68 in New York trading. The stock has doubled since the start of the year. Zoom climbed more than 12 per cent on April 23 after the original post.

The company had previously said its platform featured end-to-end encryption, the highest level of privacy, before later clarifying that it hadn’t used that phrase in the way most people understood it, and the app featured a lower level of encryption. The company has weathered other controversies surrounding its privacy lapses as it gained users and attention with millions of people confined to home in an effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Zoom’s claim of 300 million users made it look even more like the definitive social network of the Covid-19 pandemic. Facebook and Alphabet’s Google have announced free video-calling services for large groups since Zoom made the original claim last week.

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