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Zoom Bombers, the Online Audience Dilemma for TV Shows, Conferences

For students in school, or work meetings and major events like conferences and seminars, these online platforms have become key in ensuring continuity of key engagements, bringing people together in a virtual world. As the World goes virtual, television stations have also tapped into the online audiences.

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Zoom, Facebook live, YouTube live and Google hangouts among others have become the go-to platforms for the world amidst a COVID-19 pandemic that has required an unprecedented measures of Social distancing.  

For students in school, or work meetings and major events like conferences and seminars, these online platforms have become key in ensuring continuity of key engagements, bringing people together in a virtual world. As the World goes virtual, television stations have also tapped into the online audiences.

But with this ease comes a challenge of internet trolls who deliberately disrupt the meetings on the platforms. For zoom, the trolls known as zoom bombers have infiltrated the platform’s screen-sharing application and ended up posting graphic and indecent content sending the conference participants in shock, and sometimes leading to a total shutdown of the events.

Due to the fact that on several occasions links to these meetings are shared online, on social media groups, anyone with the link can join a meeting, and in the case of zoom share, the attendee can share their screens without permission from the host of the event. 

On Friday night, as NTV broadcasted its popular DJ Music Mix, a music and dance program, a member of the audience was seen broadcasting pornography to the thousands of viewers. The NTV Management described the incident as unfortunate and went ahead to suspend the Director and the producer of the show pending investigations.

Now digital media experts say that televisions should get to understand how such content ends up on air and focus on how to stop it in case of another event.

Juliet Nanfuka, a digital media expert with Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) says that NTV has taken an easier route of suspending staff, yet what they need is to understand how the content was penetrated through the system. She says that many disruptive intruders are using the internet to get into video conferencing, and advises organisers to consider delayed sequencing during a live broadcast.   

 


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Dr George Lugalambi, a media specialist says that the suspension could be justified if NTV seeks to review their protocols and find out how they were breached. He says however that the company needs to come out with procedures to handle such situations.      

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Dr Lugalambi says that televisions and those who broadcast with live audiences need to get a way of dealing with not only intruders but also an audience that goes overboard by understanding the platforms they use, the risks and how to mitigate them. He adds that privileges of allowing people into a meeting and muting them need to be put in guidelines so that when it happens again, producers know what to do.  

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