A hot potato: Zoom has found itself making a lot of headlines over the last 24 hours, and not for welcome reasons. The company that became a symbol for working from home during the pandemic is now telling employees to get back in the office. It's also dealing with a controversy over its use of customer data to train AI models.

The AI furor began in March when Stack Diary reported on Zoom's updated Terms and Conditions that included the right to train AI on users' calls without consent. More light was shined on the policy when it appeared on Hacker News over the weekend.

Zoom's Terms of Service stated that users agree to have their "Customer Content," i.e., video, audio, and call transcripts, used for "machine learning, artificial intelligence, training, testing." The same rights apply to "Service Generated Data," which includes telemetry data, product usage data, diagnostic data, and similar content.

Zoom has now responded to the controversy with a post confirming that it has updated its ToS to state it will not use audio, video, or chat customer content to train its artificial intelligence models without consent. However, there's no mention of whether the same applies to Service Generated Data.

Zoom does use AI features such as Zoom IQ, its smart companion that can summarize meetings, generate automated responses, and capture insights from customer interactions. Users of these features can uncheck a box so the company cannot collect data to improve its AI, but it's turned on by default. The company says collected data will not be used to train third-party AI models, only its own.

Elsewhere, Zoom has now mandated that employees living within 50 miles of one of its offices will have to start coming in at least two days per week.

Many companies have ended full-time remote work for their employees and regularly faced massive backlash for doing so, as Amazon can attest, and Zoom's minimum of two days per week is less than what some others require. But it's just ironic to see the company that became so well-known during the pandemic for enabling people to work from home now asking its staff to come back.

"We believe that a structured hybrid approach – meaning a set number of days employees that live near an office need to be on site – is most effective for Zoom. As a company, we are in a better position to use our own technologies, continue to innovate, and support our global customers," said a Zoom spokesperson.

"We'll continue to leverage the en tire Zoom platform to keep our employees and dispersed teams connected and working efficiently."