U.S. based video conferencing app Zoom is reportedly adding a new feature to its app that will help Beijing target Chinese users. Despite making censorship even easier for the communist regime, the company released a statement stating, “We hope that one day, governments who build barriers to disconnect their people from the world and each other will recognize that they are acting against their own interests, as well as the rights of their citizens and all humanity.”
According to a recent report from Vice News, video conferencing app Zoom has caved to pressure from Chinese officials and has agreed to add a new feature to its app that would make it easier for the Chinese government to censor or ban its citizens from using Zoom’s platform.
Breitbart News recently reported that Zoom admitted to deactivating the accounts of pro-democracy Chinese activists based in the U.S. at the request of communist China. Breitbart News reported that Zoom closed the account of a group of prominent U.S.-based Chinese activists shortly after the group held a Zoom event commemorating the 31st anniversary of the June 4th Tiananmen Square Massacre.
The event was organized by Zhou Fengsuo, the founder of the U.S. nonprofit group Humanitarian China. Fengsuo is a former student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen protests and organized the May 31 event which was held via a paid Zoom account associated with the nonprofit.
Around 250 people reportedly attended the event with speakers including mothers of students killed during the Tiananmen Square massacre, organizers of Hong Kong’s Tiananmen candlelight vigil, and many others. On June 7, the Zoom account displayed a message stating that it had been shut down.
Zoom released a statement at the time explaining why the group was banned, which said:
Just like any global company, we must comply with applicable laws in the jurisdictions where we operate. When a meeting is held across different countries, the participants within those countries are required to comply with their respective local laws. We aim to limit the actions we take to those necessary to comply with local law and continuously review and improve our process on these matters. We have reactivated the US-based account.
Now, Vice News reports that Zoom has announced the integration of a new feature in its app that will allow it to target and ban any user inside China. The company stated in a blog post: “We hope that one day, governments who build barriers to disconnect their people from the world and each other will recognize that they are acting against their own interests, as well as the rights of their citizens and all humanity.”
The blog post then goes on to state:
Zoom is developing technology over the next several days that will enable us to remove or block at the participant level based on geography. This will enable us to comply with requests from local authorities when they determine activity on our platform is illegal within their borders.
In a tweet last Friday, Kyle Bass, the chief investment officer at Hayman Capital Management, discussed possible action from Congress towards Zoom stating, “They have no defense.”
— 🇺🇸Kyle Bass🇺🇸 (@Jkylebass) June 12, 2020
U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) wrote a letter to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan in which he stated: “It is time for you to pick a side: American principles and free speech, or short-term global profits and censorship.”
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address email@example.com