Zoom Clarifies It Has 300 Million ‘Participants,’ Not Users

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(Bloomberg) --

Zoom Video Communications Inc. 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%.

The company said last week in a blog post that its number of daily users jumped 50% 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 CEO 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 realized 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% on April 23 after the original post.

This isn’t the first time that Zoom has made a boastful assertion that was ahead of the truth. The company had 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 Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have announced free video-calling services for large groups since Zoom made the original claim last week.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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