Since people have been forced to work from home across the United States, companies have been using the telecommunication software Zoom to hold meetings, classes, virtual visitations among friends, however, hackers are now taking advantage of it. Meetings of all kinds are now being interrupted with inappropriate content like, racial slurs and pornography. The move is causing an unsettling feeling among users.
"It was like an ambush," David, a Zoom user said according to the Hollywood Reporter as he and 50 others witnessed a coordinated attack. "The problem is you don't immediately know where it's coming from, so while you can kick them out, it isn't easy when they are organized and there's so many." David said that he and those joining a 12-step meeting witnessed multiple users unmute their computers, yell racist insults and use the screen to blast pornography. He then witnessed one using a tool to draw an X-rated clip with a swastika.
Other users have reported things like cursing and mooning to violence, racism, anti-Semitism, pornography and more. There have also been verbal attacks.
David admits that zoom-bombing is something he's witnessed on more than one occasion. "I will say, though, I have seen this weird progression. When it first started, I thought people were blowing it out of proportion. It was a nuisance but it felt like funny little pranks. It's moved from that to this really f—ing disturbing situation."
A different 12-step attendee, Arty, says he witnessed violent pictures while someone in the group was celebrating their sobriety anniversary: "He was saying how nervous and excited he was to share on this special day, and then it felt like the room was suddenly hijacked. There was a cacophony of screen sharing and loud noises followed by racist imagery that looked really violent. I looked away but before I did, I noticed that members were bailing left and right."0comments
He later added how "unsettling that a place where people come for recovery could be misappropriated in that way," after admitting one of the members said the situation made them want to drink.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, around 10 million people were using Zoom to host meetings, but since March 2020, more than 200 million use it daily according to CEO Eric Yuan's blog. "To put this growth in context, as of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million. In March this year, we reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid," he said.