Families kept apart at Christmas will be able to have extended video chats after Zoom confirmed it is lifting its 40-minute call limit on free accounts over the festive period.
The video conferencing app said it will scrap the limit at times including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The limit will be lifted on Thursday 17th for the last day of Hanukkah, from 3pm in Ireland until 11am on Saturday 19th.
— Zoom (@zoom_us) December 17, 2020
It will then be lifted again between 3pm on Wednesday 23rd and 11am on Saturday 26th to allow family and friends to have extended chats over Christmas.
Zoom also confirmed the limit will be lifted over new year – between Wednesday, December 30th and Saturday, January 2nd.
The platform said the time limits would be lifted automatically on those dates without requiring users to make any updates.
“Covid-19 has changed how we live, work and celebrate in 2020, and like everything else this year, the holiday season doesn’t look the same,” the company said in a blog post.
“As a token of appreciation to our users during an extraordinary time, we’re removing the 40-minute limit on free Zoom accounts for all meetings globally for several upcoming special occasions.
“Whether coming together on the final day of Hanukkah, celebrating Christmas, ringing in the new year, or marking the last days of Kwanzaa, those connecting with friends and family won’t get cut short.”
The video conferencing app has seen exponential user growth during 2020 as millions of people turned to the platform to work and study from home during lockdown, as well as stay in touch with family and friends.
The platform was criticised in March for a number of security issues, which led Zoom to announce a 90-day programme where all other software development was stopped to focus on security and privacy improvements, which has resulted in a number of updates and new features being introduced.
As part of its announcement around lifting its time limits, Zoom urged users to follow good security practices on the platform including using meeting passcodes to keep calls secure, and not sharing meeting IDs on social media or other public forums.