Zoom has become the video-conferencing platform of choice for Toastmaster meetings during the coronavirus-related work-play-and-learn-from-home lockdown, used by high schools, yoga classes and blue-chip corporations alike. The free version lets up to 100 participants join a meeting, and you can pay to add more. However, the free version may not be suitable for Toastmasters meetings since the length of each meeting is limited to 40 minutes.
But there's a dark side to Zoom. Anyone who knows how to set up a Zoom meeting or how to join a Zoom meeting can join one by default as long as they know the meeting link, and as a result, trolls have been "Zoom-bombing" meetings to shock other participants with porn and cause general mayhem.
How to stop the Zoom-bombers
Zoom has come to the rescue with a blog post titled "How to Keep the Party Crashers from Crashing Your Zoom Event".
"When you share your meeting link on social media or other public forums, that makes your event extremely public," the posting reminds users. "ANYONE with the link can join your meeting."
So here are some things you can do if you're a Zoom meeting host.
Stop other participants from screen sharing
Click the arrow next to "Share Screen" in the host controls at the bottom of the Zoom screen, then select "Advanced Sharing Options" and make sure the option to "Who Can Share?" is set to "Host Only".
Control who enters a meeting with the Waiting Room feature
This puts all participants in a waiting area before the meeting starts, and you can admit them one by one, or all at once. You can enable it by going to Account Management > Account Settings > Meeting > Waiting Room. More Waiting Room information is available at Zoom.
Lock the meeting after it starts
This is harsh to latecomers, but it keeps out some gate-crashers. Click "Manage Participants" at the bottom of the Host screen and select "Lock Meeting.". (The waiting room would be a better option for Toastmasters clubs)
Turn off File Transfer
This will stop bad actors from uploading porn through the in-meeting text-chat function.
Go to Account Management > Account Settings > Meeting > File Transfer.
The Zoom blog posting has many more tips, including a few that are for paid Zoom accounts only, such as making the meeting invitation-only and requiring attendees to log in with a password.
(Thanks to TomsGuide for this summary)
easy-Speak safeguards. What options should I use?
easy-Speak does NOT present the Zoom meeting link to any robot and will only show it to real users who have an easy-Speak identity and are logged in.
When you created your meeting location for Zoom in your Club Control Panel:
- If you selected the choice 'Virtual (Internet meeting)' your meeting will be listed in the Calendar and lists of meetings within easy-Speak but only logged in users are able to see the link to your Zoom meeting.
- If you selected the choice 'Virtual -hidden' your meeting will NOT be listed in the Calendar and lists of meetings within easy-Speak.
Logged in users who found your club in some other way (searching for a local club for example) are able to see the visitors version of the meeting agenda but do NOT see the link to your Zoom meeting.
They may contact you through the site by e-mail etc and may then see the meeting details if you decide to change their status in your club. (To 'Visiting Toastmaster' for example)
We strongly advise that:
- You enable the Zoom Waiting Room feature.
Maybe assign your Sergeant-at-Arms to the role of managing Zoom and controlling who may join the meeting.
Insist that everyone shows a meaningful name when asking to join the meeting (Anyone listing as 'Laptop 2' or similar will not be admitted)
Be vigilant for anyone who had to drop out of the meeting for technical reasons and is now waiting to re-join.
- Stop screen sharing in Zoom for anyone other than the host.
Know how to enable screen sharing for a Speaker who wants to use slides or similar.
- Disable file transfer within Zoom
- Set up a Co-host in Zoom and decide how you want to manage your meetings; who will control which cameras and microphone are on, who will give access to late arrivals....etc
- Use a different and unique meeting ID and password on Zoom for each of your meetings. (You wouldn't dream of using the same password on all your bank and shopping sites - it's the same issue)
- Do NOT post a link to your Zoom meeting anywhere in your meeting agenda narrative or Club PR material.
- You may post your unique meeting ID and password (from the Zoom meeting setup) in the meeting ID field on the easy-Speak agenda screen. It will only be available to logged in users as explained above.
- Make sure that the club has a process in place to recognise potential visitors, qualify them with a welcoming message and then allow only genuine users to have the meeting link.
- Periodically, review the different status of users that you have set up in your club Control Panel (for example 'Vsitor' or 'Past Member') and check to see if they are set to be listed online for each meeting.
Anyone who is in that status will be able to view and use the link to your online meetings.
Review the people that you have in each status; 'Visitor' for eaxmple should only include recent visitors who you hope will visit again and past contacts moved to another status.
Pre-registration in Zoom
Using this feature and requiring that all attendees pre-register in Zoom is a good tool to consider for Area, Division or District events where there will be a long list of attendees, many of whom are not previously registered in the easy-Speak unit running the event.
However, it gives no benefits for a club meeting on easy-Speak which only alows known club members to use the meeting link on the agenda screen.
It is inconvenient to club members who now need to confirm their attendance both in Zoom and easy-Speak.
External presentation of your meetings
Be very cautious that your club does not publish its Zoom meeting url anywhere the information could be used to break into and disrupt your meeting. Ensure that your VP-PR understands the need to bring guests to the club's agenda screen where you can manage potential visitors and not to publish the Zoom link anywhere.
Be aware that there are some, well intentioned, Toastmasters who want to help users around the world by publishing lists of available online Toastmasters meetings on various websites.
I've seen some lists where the Zoom link, including password, was published in plain text to anyone (or any bot) that wanted to read it. That has compromised the safeguards, standard to easy-Speak clubs, of only making the Zoom link available to logged-in users... I can only suggest that you contact them and ask that your club be removed from their list.
Please read this article for full instruction on how to set up your online meetings in easy-Speak
How to set up your online meetings Detailed description, with example, of how to set up online club meetings..