Zoom is down, but a fix is incoming [Update: It's back]

Zoom is down this morning, leaving businesses and schools that rely on the video conferencing service without – for better or worse – a way to log in and chat. The issue began at just before 9am ET on Monday morning, August 24, with Zoom saying that it had "received reports of users being unable to visit the Zoom website and unable to start and join Zoom Meetings and Webinars."

While always relatively popular, video conferencing has taken on new importance in recent months, as ways to work around limitations from the COVID-19 pandemic have become more vital. Businesses and schools have turned to video chat to replicate in-person meetings and classes.

Although multiple video platforms exist, the one which has arguably embedded itself most readily into the mainstream vernacular is Zoom. That hasn't been entirely smooth sailing, mind. The company faced criticism for its approach to encryption, among other complaints, and has struggled at times with "Zoombombing" where uninvited participants join meetings to intentionally disrupt them.

Zoom's sudden prominence has not been the only unexpected knock-on effect, either. Sales of webcams have skyrocketed, and many of the better-known brands are still in relatively short supply. Several camera companies have released apps that allow their standalone digital cameras to be connected via USB to a computer, and act as a webcam replacement.

As of 9:50am ET, Zoom said in an update, it had figured out what was wrong. "We have identified the issue causing users to be unable to authenticate to the Zoom website and unable to start and join Zoom Meetings and Webinars," the company said, "and we are working on a fix for this issue."

It's unclear at this stage what the problem is. Other Zoom products – such as audio-only phone calls, chat, and cloud recording – are all apparently online and working as expected.

Update: As of 12:37pm ET, Zoom says that all of its services should be back online:

"We have resolved the issue causing users to be unable to start and join Zoom Meetings and Webinars. Users are now also able to sign up for paid accounts, upgrade, and manage their service on the Zoom website. We are currently monitoring to ensure that these services are operational."