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Zoom doesn’t really have 300 million users

Zoom counted users who participated in multiple calls in a single day as separate users, artificially inflating its user base.

Zoom doesn’t really have 300 million users
[Photo: Gabriel Benois/Unsplash]

If there’s a single tech company that has benefitted more than others from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s Zoom. Before the pandemic, not many people outside the business world had heard of the app, but now it’s become a household name thanks to its usage skyrocketing as millions are forced to work from home during lockdowns.

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Matter of fact, earlier this month Zoom revealed it had over 300 million daily active users—up from the tens of millions the company had in December. However, it now turns out Zoom’s 300 million daily active users claim was incorrect, reports The Verge.

Zoom originally made the misleading claim in an April 22 blog post where it said it had “more than 300 million daily users.” But as The Verge points out, Zoom then quietly edited the post on April 24 to rephrase the statement to read “300 million daily Zoom meeting participants.”

The change in language is significant, and it means Zoom has millions of fewer users than it originally reported. Why? Because a daily active user (DAU) is a generally accepted industrywide term that counts one daily user of a service only once, no matter how many times they use that service in a single day.

However, “daily meeting participants” counts a single user multiple times if that user used the service multiple times during a single day. For example: say Joe used Zoom four times in one day to make four different Zoom calls. Under the DAU metric, Joe would be counted only once. But under the “daily meeting participants” metric, Joe would be counted four times. In other words, stating you have 300 million DAUs when you actually have 300 million “daily meeting participants” can grossly artificially inflate your user base.

When The Verge contacted Zoom about the quiet update to its original post, Zoom replied it was a “genuine oversight” on their part:

We are humbled and proud to help over 300 million daily meeting participants stay connected during this pandemic. In a blog post on April 22, we unintentionally referred to these participants as “users” and “people.” When we realized this error, we adjusted the wording to “participants.” This was a genuine oversight on our part.

As of now, it’s unknown how many daily active users Zoom actually has. All they are currently reporting is the 300 million “daily Zoom meeting participants” metric.

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