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Zoombombing: the unwanted, disruptive intrusion, generally by Internet trolls, into a video-conference call. Zoom raiders often employ shocking imagery, racial epithets and profanity to derail video conferences.

  1. There should always be a plan.
    Your organization should discuss the right steps to take should a zoombombing incident take place. Are security settings as tight as possible? Should more than one host be designated for a meeting? Who should handle gathering or preserving meeting information if a zoombombing incident occurs? Who should be in charge of communicating to participants during the incident and afterwards? Should colleagues develop a code word or an in-the-moment protocol?Each individual or organization has different resources and needs, but anyone engaging in semi-public videoconferencing should create a policy or procedure around response protocols in the event of a zoombombing incident.
  2. Preserve Information
    It is important to preserve as much information as possible. If a zoombomb occurs, consider the following:

    1. Hit Record.
      If your meeting is not already being recorded, hit the record button to capture the behavior.
    2. Save the Chat.
      Before closing a meeting that has been zoombombed, the host should save and download the chat–especially because many zoombombers both share problematic information on their screen and in chat. There are also ways of storing and viewing the chat message history after the meeting has ended.
    3. Take Screen Shots.
      Take as many screen shots as possible, especially of the meeting participants. You can do this by clicking the “Manage Participants” button. If you are unable to take screenshots with your computer, use an alternative device, such as a phone.
    4. Generate Reports.
      If your zoom meeting has registration or polling enabled, generate a report after the meeting.
  3. Respond in the Moment
    1. If you are sharing your screen, immediately un-share your screen.
    2. If you are the host, immediately remove disruptive participant(s).
    3. If you are not the host, contact the host/IT (if on the call) to remove disruptive participant(s).
    4. The host/organizer/facilitator (or a designee) should take immediate action to acknowledge what is happening and take steps to mute and remove the disrupters from the call.
      1. Recognize and acknowledge this aggression has occurred. Hate speech can traumatize. Individuals are impacted in varying ways to hearing or seeing the same things. Recognize, that while it may not have impacted you considerably, to others it can affect them in the immediate time and days to weeks later. People experience these events differently and for some it can trigger previous incidents of racism, bias, and discrimination.
      2. Marginalized people and groups are disproportionately impacted and targeted. These incidents are not, “a fluke” or “some troublemakers” playing a prank. This is systematic oppression of marginalized groups and institutions of higher education.
      3. As zoom meeting hosts and as educators, we have a responsibility to our community to respond immediately when it happens. Responding brings repair to those who are harmed. This is an opportunity to act in solidarity with communities directly targeted in a zoom attack.
        1. Acknowledge that what occurred was completely unacceptable and reprehensible.
        2. Recognize that though this may be shocking to some, it is a regular occurrence of hatred and racism that many folks experience daily.
        3. Encourage folks to step away, turn their camera off, and take deep breaths, to compose and recalibrate, as needed.
        4. Vocalize that it is completely acceptable for folks to sign off the Zoom meeting, if that is what is best for them.
        5. State that these actions go against everything you, and Tufts University, stand for as both administrative leaders, but also as humans.
        6. Admit that though combating these issues and realities have been at the core of what Tufts University advocates for and has been actively addressing, there is still a very long road ahead.
        7. Share resources:
          1. Office of the Provost
          2. University Chaplaincy
          3. Counseling and Mental Health
          4. Tufts Cabinet for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
          5. Medford Division of Student Affairs
          6. Medford Division of Student Diversity and Inclusion
          7. Office of Equal Opportunity
      4. State that you all will continue with the agenda, acknowledging that the event will now likely go over time.
      5. Offer to stay on the Zoom meeting (or organize for someone to facilitate this) after the event to debrief with any folks who may need it.
      6. Consider hosting a community event in the following days for folks to discuss, heal, and process.
  1. Report the Incident
    The host/organizer/facilitator should report the attack to the Office of Equal Opportunity using this form. Participants should be encouraged to report an attack, as they can be helpful in documenting the attack and providing information for the investigation.

5.  Notify the Campus Community

After a zoom bombing of a discriminatory nature, the University should issue a statement detailing the event and the university’s planned response to the larger Tufts Community.

Click here to view the Interrupting Bias: Calling Out vs. Calling In resource page