Women's rights groups were in the midst of an online seminar on violence against women when unknown trolls started to play vulgar sounds and draw lewd drawings in the virtual meeting.
The Center of Women's Resources was in a Zoom online orientation with the Gabriela National Alliance of Women last Friday, discussing a VAW legal clinic to respond to women vulnerable to abuses amid the ongoing Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, when the online attack occurred.
CWR training coordinator Miriam Grafil was in the middle of her discussion on gender violence, when trolls started to play the sound of a woman moaning. They also drew an image of a man's reproductive organ.
CWR executive director Jojo Guan shared that continuing advocacy work in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, can be challenging especially with limited resources.
"The least we can do is to continue educating women and the public through online platforms. It is disheartening that there are groups and individuals who attack organizations and peddle hate and disinformation,” Guan shared.
CWR condemned the rise of online attacks, especially against organizations that offer services amid the lockdown and pandemic.
She further added, “Online platforms, like social media and video conference applications are in danger of being weaponized in this critical time of lockdown. Since mobility is very limited, the public has no choice but to rely on media, especially on social media."
With most of the world working from home, people have been using applications like ZOOM Cloud Meetings for online video calls. But incidents of "Zoom bombings" — when the application is hacked and individuals can enter on-going video calls — have been on the rise.
In Singapore, teachers have stopped using the app after intruders reportedly made lewd comments in a virtual class.
On the same day that the women's group conference got hacked, Zoom rolled out new security measures as more and more people experienced "Zoom bombings." — LA, GMA News