In recent weeks, as schools, businesses, support groups and millions of individuals have adopted Zoom as a meeting platform in an increasingly remote world, reports of “Zoombombing” or “Zoom raiding” by uninvited participants have become frequent.
While those incidents may have initially been regarded as pranks or trolling, they have since risen to the level of hate speech and harassment, and even commanded the attention of the FBI.
The weaponization of Zoom — a videoconferencing app that has become a de facto social platform for the coronavirus era — is the latest development in the story of online abuse, the kind playing out on social networks and darker, unmoderated corners of the internet.
An analysis by The New York Times found 153 Instagram accounts, dozens of Twitter accounts and private chats, and several active message boards on Reddit and 4Chan where thousands of people had gathered to organize Zoom harassment campaigns, sharing meeting passwords and plans for sowing chaos in public and private meetings. (Since this article’s publication, Reddit has shut down the message boards where Zoom raids were discussed.)