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Can Zoom Hosts See Private Messages? Here's What To Know About Chatting

While you're using virtual conferencing platforms like Zoom to connect with friends or sign in to work meetings, you may want to message a person outside of the group chat. Zoom allows you to communicate with group messages across the whole team, but you can also send private messages to meeting participants if you wish. However, if you're concerned your Zoom hosts can see private messages, here's what you should know.

The Zoom platform offers in-meeting chat options, which include group messaging, as well as the ability to send private messages to users. Although it seems reasonable that private messages stay between two people, you may question if your Zoom host can see them. The host of a Zoom meeting has a lot of control over the settings, so it isn't an unusual question.

Luckily, the answer is pretty straightforward. Zoom's support center breaks down the details of messaging on the platform, and the answers will give you some peace of mind. If you send a private message to a friend or co-worker on Zoom, the host will not have access and won't be able to see private message threads. With that in mind, you don't have to hesitate to send those PMs, because the only people able to see them will be you and the person you're messaging.

There is another catch, though. You might want to be careful about private messages if you're the host. If you're hosting a meeting with a paid Zoom account and choose to save the meeting transcripts, all participants will have access to the meeting transcripts. While that might not sound like a bad thing, this includes public group chat transcripts, as well as any private messages between the hosts and other meeting members. Private messages between anyone who isn't the host will not be recorded. So, if you're the host of a meeting and elect to record it with a transcription, you may want to be careful with private messaging.

According to Zoom's help center, if a host chooses to automatically or manually save transcripts to their computer, it saves any chats that you can see as a host, meaning even those private messages you sent to others will end up in the meeting transcript. If the meeting host chooses to save the chat to the Zoom Cloud, the transcription will include group chats and messages sent while recording. So, if you're hosting a meeting, you might want to rethink using Zoom's private messaging if you don't want everyone to have access to it later.

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You might find that some meetings don't have chat capabilities. The host of your Zoom meetings is able to select who can chat, or choose to disable the chat function entirely during the meeting. So, if you find yourself in a Zoom meeting with no chat function, this is likely the case. If you can message the group but not an individual, the meeting host altered the chat settings, and there is no way for a non-host participant to change this.

To start using chat on Zoom, click on the chat button on the menu bar at the bottom of your meeting screen. This will bring up a side column on the right and will be set to everyone by default. If you want to join in on a group chat, leave the settings alone. But, if you want to send a private message, select the drop-down menu next to "To" and change the option from "Everyone" to the person you want to message.

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If you’re using Zoom on your smartphone instead of a desktop computer, you'll want to tap your screen in a meeting to make the menu bar appear on the bottom. Then, go to the Participants tab, scroll toward the bottom, and click on Chat. From there, select the arrow next to the "Send to" option and choose who to private message.

To download Zoom for your Mac or PC, visit the download page.