Preventing Disruptions in Your Online Shabbat

As the coronavirus pandemic has led to more people conducting school and business online, there have been reports of “Zoombombing”, a reference to the popular video conferencing platform Zoom in which virtual meetings are disrupted by graphic or threatening messages or actions.  This has happened with teens disrupting online classes and also with hate groups entering online meetings.

There is concern that extremists could exploit the increasing reliance on video conferencing technology to target certain groups and disrupt online gatherings with hateful messages. While such online disruptions are less risky than in-person altercations, we want to encourage our community to act wisely when setting up and publicizing online gatherings, and be informed about what to do if someone Zoombombs your online Shabbat or other gatherings.

PREVENTING “ZOOMBOMBING”

  • Don’t make your Zoom (or any online platform) link public.  Send it only to those attending approved to participate.

  • On OneTable this means setting your Shabbat to “Host Approval” or “Private”.  The “Host Approval” setting requires registrants to provide an email address in order to get the link, decreasing the chance a Zoombomber will even bother to try.

  • If you use your Zoom meeting room regularly or have shared it previously, set up your Shabbat Zoom event with a random meeting ID for this one-time use. (When you set up a new meeting, select “generate meeting ID” rather than “use my personal meeting ID.)

HOW TO MINIMIZE IMPACT

There are a few things you can do to minimize the impact that a disruptive person can have on your event.

  • Prevent anyone from sharing their screen by limiting screen sharing to the host only.  In your Zoom meeting, find “host controls” at the bottom. Click the arrow next to Share Screen and then Advanced Sharing Options. Under “Who can share” choose “host only”.

  • Remove unwanted or disruptive participants from your event.  Click on “manage participants” at the bottom of your Zoom meeting.  You’ll see a list of those participating.  Hover over a name to see “more.” Within that menu select “remove” to kick the person out of your meeting. Once removed, the person cannot rejoin the meeting.

  • You can also “stop video” and “mute” under that menu if someone is disruptive.

More resources are available on this help page from Zoom and this article from the ADL.

OneTable

OneTable empowers people who don’t yet have a consistent Shabbat dinner practice to build one that feels authentic, sustainable, and valuable. The OneTable community is funded to support people (21-39ish), not in undergraduate studies, and without an existing weekly Shabbat practice, looking to find and share this powerful experience.

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