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Zoom now allows pausing meetings to remove, report unwanted participants

Zoom is introducing new features to keep the pestering Zoombombers at bay that the platform has so far been full of.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | November 17, 2020 | Updated 19:24 IST

Highlights

  • Zoom has introduced three new tools to improve security on the platform.
  • These new tools will keep Zoombombers at bay, the company has said.
  • Zoom users can report miscreants that the platform will take note of.

Zoom, the popular video conferencing platform, is adding three new security-based tools to its app and desktop versions that will keep trollers and miscreants at bay. These tools will stop Zoombombing on the platform, in what could be termed the fastest action taken by the video conferencing app on the recent order issued by the US FTC. The government body had ordered Zoom to improve security standards on the platform earlier this month.

In a blog post, Zoom has explained how these two new features will work. Both features will be housed under the Security tab that is available for video meetings. The first one is called "Suspend Participant Activities", which will allow meeting hosts and co-hosts to pause a meeting temporarily to identify and remove the person creating nuisance in the meeting. This is important for video meetings that were quite likely to become targets for trolls.

While removing the user, the host or co-host will be asked to share details and attach screenshots, although these are optional things that you are asked to provide. After filling out these fields, the participant will be removed by Zoom, and Zoom's Trust & Safety Team will be notified. Zoom's internal team looking after this exercise will likely suspend the account of this user or maybe report law enforcement authorities about anything serious and impactful for businesses and clients. The video meetings can then be resumed. This tool will be available to both free and paid users on Zoom.

The second tool allows participants to report a miscreant in a video meeting. Previously, it was available to hosts and co-hosts but even participants can now report other users for being disruptive in the meeting. However, the rights of participants to do this still lie with the administrator and meeting owners inside the web settings for video meetings.

Both of these new features are available on the Zoom desktop clients for Mac, PC, Linux, mobile apps, along with support for the web client and VDI to come later this year.

Zoom's third tool that will magnify security on the platform is At-Risk Meeting Notifier. This tool will be available later this year and allow users to use Zoom safely. At-Risk Meeting Notifier will scan social media posts and websites for public Zoom Meeting links. It will then analyse these links to check if they are not potentially harmful or introduce risk to Zoom or its users.

In case it detects such Meeting links, it will notify the account owner by email along with guidelines on what to do next. These guidelines include removing the harmful video meeting link, creating a new one with a new ID, enabling security settings, or suggesting other ways to conduct Zoom meetings, such as Zoom Video Webinars or OnZoom.

The usage of Zoom for video conferencing skyrocketed during the pandemic, forcing the company to see unprecedented changes in adoption for which the company was not ready for. As a result, there were several issues and bugs that people reported and criticised Zoom for, including the unavailability of a tool to curb Zoombombing on the platform. Zoombombing means when an unwanted user hijacks a meeting to show questionable videos or distasteful content.

Several countries issued a warning on using Zoom for video meetings, including India that urged users to avoid Zoom. Later, the company clarified its features are safe and there is no harm in using them.

In an interview with India Today Tech, Zoom's India head Sameer Raje said that Zoom is working towards complying with every guideline that the Indian government has laid down. Raje also said that the security standards on the video conferencing platform will also be improved over time. While Zoom is ensuring these changes get implemented on the platform, it has faced strong competition from rivals. But Raje emphasised that Zoom is not bothered about the competition but is rather focusing on improving the platform.

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