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Keeping your Zoom meetings under control

Everybody seems to be using videoconferencing at the moment, and Zoom is the service which has been getting the highest profile. Even if you don’t host Zoom meetings yourself, you may well be invited to one! It’s a fairly ‘open’ system by default, and there have been reports of people gatecrashing (or ‘Zoombombing’), meetings, sometimes in an offensive way, so the host of a meeting will be wise to bear in mind these guidelines.

If you promote your meeting link in public, anyone with the link can join your meeting. Zoom recommends learning about meeting IDs and how to generate a random meeting ID in this video tutorial. You can also control who comes and goes with a Waiting Room.

Don’t give up control of your screen. You can restrict this — before the meeting and during the meeting in the host control bar — so that you’re the only one who can screen-share. Using the host controls at the bottom, click the arrow next to Share Screen and then Advanced Sharing Options. Under “Who can share?” choose “Only Host” and close the window. You can also lock the Screen Share by default for all your meetings in your web settings.

One way of ensuring only those people you want at your event are involved is to announce the meeting via email and then allow only signed-in users to join. If someone tries to join your event and isn’t logged into Zoom with the email they were invited through, they will find themselves barred.

Meetings can also be password-protected. Zoom suggests generating a random Meeting ID when scheduling your event and requiring a password to join. Then you can share that Meeting ID widely but only send the password privately.

When you lock a Zoom Meeting that’s already started, no new participants can join, even if they have the meeting ID and password (if you have required one). In the meeting, click Participants at the bottom of your Zoom window. In the Participants pop-up, click the button that says Lock Meeting. For company chats, this seems to me to be the single most sensible action to take.

Note that as a meeting organiser, you can remove unwanted or disruptive participants, put them on hold, disable video, and mute participants. You can also enable ‘Mute Upon Entry’ in your settings to keep things quiet at the start.

Zoom has in-meeting chat for everyone or participants can message each other privately. Restrict participants’ ability to chat amongst one another to prevent anyone from getting unwanted messages during the meeting.

One of the best ways to use Zoom for public events is to enable the previously mentioned Waiting Room feature. Zoom says: “Just like it sounds, the Waiting Room is a virtual staging area that stops your guests from joining until you’re ready for them.” Meeting hosts can customize Waiting Room settings and personalize the message people see when they hit the Waiting Room: a great spot to post any guidelines for your event.

There’s more in this Slashgear article.

Finally, those of you concerned about reports of privacy issues (what Zoom will do with your data) are advised to use it from a mobile device, not on a machine using Windows or Mac OS.