Security for Virtual Events

Many Friends Meetings in New England have made the transition to holding worship and other Meeting events over Zoom, an online platform which offers many wonderful features for non-physical connection. With this shift, a number of Friends have heard concerns about “Zoombombing,” which is when someone from outside the  intended audience logs in and causes intentional disruption (sometimes in the form of hate speech or sharing inappropriate images). In order to prevent this sort of potentially disturbing disruption, we urge Friends at your Meeting to consider how you will manage this risk. 

Just like with our physical gatherings, the more visible and easily accessible you choose to be to people you don’t already know, the more possible it is for someone you do not know to disturb your gathering. Posting the link to a Zoom meeting on your website or publicly over social media carries a risk; anyone with the link can join your Zoom meeting. For each event you hold over Zoom, consider the right balance of visibility and security. 

The following are ways you may choose to lower your risk of Zoombombing or other disturbances:

  • Because Zoom regularly improves their security features, ensure that you have the most up-to-date version of Zoom on the device you are hosting from.
  • Share Zoom access information only with a set audience such as via your meeting’s email list, on a password-protected portion of your website, in a closed social media group, or on a non-public events calendar
  • List a contact on your website for newcomers to reach out to for access information
  • Be aware that you may not want to use your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) for Meeting events. Your PMI is basically one continuous meeting, so an intruder could use your account without your knowledge
  • Configure your Zoom settings so that only the host may share their screen. This can be set when the meeting is set up or during the meeting. To learn how to do this, check out this clear tutorial created by The Western Friend
  • Ahead of time, discuss how you will manage any potential disruptions should they occur. Just as you may have a plan for responding to inappropriate messages or behaviors when you are physically gathered for worship, have a plan in place for how you would respond virtually. 
    • For each Zoom event, ensure that at least the person in the “host” role knows how to turn off participants' videos or remove participants from a call (by clicking on “Participants,” mousing over their name, clicking "more" and then "remove"). You can also mute everyone and stop participants' ability to unmute themselves. Finally, hosts can "lock" a meeting, which prevents new participants from joining.
  • Consider if more elaborate Zoom security measures are right for your event. These might include:
    • Using a  Waiting Room, which allows the host to control which participants join and when. For more information on hosting controls such as the Waiting Room, click here.
    • For more details on other security features that Zoom offers, click here
    • If you choose to record the meeting and save the recording to Zoom's cloud rather than to your own computer, consider using a password to protect the recording from unwanted viewers

File Downloads

BYM Virtual Youth Group Guidelines

Sample guidelines for connecting virtually with youth, from Britain Yearly Meeting

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