Genitalia, naked butts and swastikas flashed across the screens of Student Government senators and guests Tuesday night as they attempted to hold their weekly meeting over Zoom.
The meeting ended abruptly after multiple unknown people entered Senate’s second virtual meeting and “Zoom bombed,” or intentionally hacked, the Zoom meeting and caused chaos. The meeting was open to the public, and the Zoom link and code were shared on the Senate Facebook page Monday in a post inviting people to join.
BREAKING: the Senate livestream was just “zoom bombed,” or crashed. Multiple unknown people joined the meeting and wrote offensive comments, drew swastikas. The meeting ended abruptly after one person “mooned” the camera #ufgov @TheAlligator pic.twitter.com/tBkqTY2zeQ— Chasity Maynard (@chasitymaynard0) March 31, 2020
Zoom recommended not making meetings or classrooms public, not sharing meeting links publicly on social media, changing screen sharing to “host only” and using the most up-to-date version of the application, according to ABC News. Senate meetings are open to the public and every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., as announced on its Facebook about page and website.
The meeting ended after a “Zoom bomber” used the share screen feature on Zoom, making his screen display for everyone in the meeting, and googled sexually explicit terms and showed pornographic images as a result.
Senate President Kyle Garner wrote in a text that he received death threats in private chats from the hackers.
“I am still shaken by this as are many of our senators,” he wrote.
The hackers also shared their screen while drawing swastikas and writing offensive racial slurs and expletives. They sexually harassed multiple senators, calling them sexually explicit slurs and telling them to strip their clothes off.
Garner apologized for the offensive and alarming disruption and told senators in an email that he filed a police report minutes after the meeting ended.
“First off, I'm sorry. What we witnessed tonight during our meeting was absolutely unacceptable,” Garner wrote. “The racist statements and symbols of hate that were used to target and intimidate our Senators will not be tolerated. I have filed a police report and will do everything I can to hold these individuals accountable.”
Garner said that he and Senate President Pro-Tempore Cooper Brown would work with UF IT and UF’s General Counsel to set up another meeting time later this week. Details on whether SG would use a new system or find ways to make the meeting more secure were not mentioned.
The hackers disguised themselves by speaking with fake accents and pitchy or digitally altered voices, wearing wigs and dark sunglasses and using an effect to make their clothes appear black with neon green code.
One wore a white medical mask and backward white cap while he flipped off the camera. He then stood up and appeared to grab his chest fat and shook his nipple at the camera. One of them flashed their butt and smacked it in front of the camera.
Someone attempted to mute one of the hackers after.
“Oh no, I got muted. What the f***, why?” he said. “That’s just sad man.”
UF President Kent Fuchs tweeted about the meeting shortly after it ended, condemning the “horrific messages of hate.” He included that he has asked UF IT and the University of Florida’s Police Department to further investigate what happened.
Just reported to me that this evening UF’s Student Government meeting was Zoom Bombed with racist messages, swastikas, pornography and death threats. I condemn these horrific messages of hate. I have asked UF IT and UF PD to investigate. COVID-19 and hate will be defeated.— W. Kent Fuchs (@PresidentFuchs) April 1, 2020
The university recommends faculty require passwords to enter Zoom meetings and starting meetings with the share screen feature limited only to the host on its Keep Zoom Secure webpage. The site includes instructions on removing participants and writes that locking the meeting after it begins can “add another level of security.”
Contact Chasity Maynard at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @chasitymaynard0.