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Zoom has to pay $85 million to people for privacy issues. Here's how to claim your money

Zoom will pay to settle a lawsuit claiming it violated users' privacy rights -- and you might be eligible for payment.

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Does Zoom owe you money? Here's how to find out.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Millions of Zoom users could be eligible for a payment from the video chat giant, due to a class-action lawsuit claiming the company violated privacy rights. Zoom has agreed to pay $85 million to settle the lawsuit, which alleges that it shared people's personal information with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn without permission -- and allowed hackers to break into virtual meetings in a practice known as "Zoombombing" as the platform skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic.

The preliminary settlement was filed on Saturday and is now awaiting approval from a US district judge in San Jose, California. A hearing is set for Oct. 21. 

If approved, the settlement could give eligible Zoom customers a refund of either 15% of the cost of a Zoom subscription, or up to $25. So how do you find out if you're qualified to get a payment, and if so, how to claim it? Here's what to know. 

Am I eligible to get a payment from Zoom?

If you registered, used, opened or downloaded the Zoom app for personal use (not through an enterprise or government account) between March 30, 2016, and July 30, 2021, you are potentially eligible for the refund from Zoom. This also includes people who signed up for Zoom's free tier. 

How much money could I get from Zoom?

If you are eligible based on the date ranges above and you paid for a Zoom account, you could receive 15% of the money paid to Zoom for your subscription during that time or $25 (whichever is greater). If you are eligible but had a free Zoom account, you can claim $15. However, these rates may change depending on how many people file a claim.

Any extra funds will be distributed to those who make a claim, "if economically feasible," the settlement said. If not, that extra money will be given to the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation and Electronic Privacy Information Center. 

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You might be eligible to get some cash from Zoom due to a class action settlement around its privacy practices during the pandemic.

Sarah Tew/CNET

How do I claim my settlement money from Zoom? 

If the settlement is approved at the October hearing, Zoom will provide available names, emails, addresses and account numbers to the settlement administrator. If you're eligible for a refund, you'll be notified by email or mailed postcard and asked to provide your name, mailing address, email and claim number. If you're not notified but think you are qualified, you can still file a claim by providing either an email associated with your Zoom account, a Zoom account number or documentation showing that you were impacted. 

A new website (ZoomMeetingsClassAction.com) will have more information, but at the time of this writing was not yet live.

As part of the settlement, Zoom also said it would continue to take new measures to prevent Zoombombing, such as alerting people when hosts or meeting participants use third-party apps in meetings, and offering specialized privacy training to employees. 

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"The privacy and security of our users are top priorities for Zoom, and we take seriously the trust our users place in us," a Zoom spokesperson said in a statement on Monday. "We are proud of the advancements we have made to our platform, and look forward to continuing to innovate with privacy and security at the forefront." 

For more, check out 20 tips for using Zoom like a pro and how to change your Zoom background.