Tips for safer Zoom meetings

A screenshot of a video call showing one woman and three cats

As many classes and social activities are shifting to online video, harassers are “Zoom-bombing” video calls with pornography and other obnoxious disruptions. Here is a short guide to making your Zoom meetings safer.

Before the meeting, the host (the person creating the meeting) should change these Zoom settings (click here to change):

  1. Turn on “Waiting room” feature. (Update: will be on by default starting April 5, 2020.)
  2. Turn off “Allow removed participants to rejoin”, “Allow private chat”, “File transfer”, “Annotation”, “Whiteboard” features.
  3. Set “Screen sharing” to “Host only”.

When scheduling a meeting, the host should:

  1. Create a meeting in Zoom with a random ID and a password (do not use Personal Meeting ID). (Update: meeting password will be on by default starting April 5, 2020.)
  2. Recommended: Do not share the Zoom meeting link publicly, instead make people register with an email address (e.g. using Eventbrite) and email them the Zoom link and password.

During the meeting:

  1. Host assigns “Co-host” status to a trusted person.
  2. The Co-host admits people from the waiting room, removes harassers, and does not admit suspicious people who try to join. (They also mute people who forget to mute themselves after speaking.)
  3. Host transfers host status to people who need to share their screen.
  4. Optional: Lock the meeting after 5 minutes.

If you do all these things, you will have a Zoom meeting with a defensible boundary that you can eject people from if they behave badly. It’s the virtual equivalent of a well-run conference with registration, name tags, physical security, and code of conduct enforcement.

Online training

If you find these tips useful, you may also be interested in our online training, Teaching Inclusive and Engaging Online Classes. We also teach the Ally Skills Workshop online, which helps people learn how to use their power and influence to make their workplace better.

Links

Change Zoom settings: https://zoom.us/profile/setting

Co-host information: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362603-Host-and-Co-Host-Controls-in-a-Meeting

Waiting room, remove participants, lock meeting: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115005759423-Managing-participants-in-a-meeting

Header image CC BY Lisa ZinsCC BY-SA Bill Abbottmarneejill, Frame Shift Consulting LLC