Kathmandu, May 22
It has been around two months that the country is in a lockdown with literally everything shut. However, some offices and schools have been conducting online meetings and classes, respectively, during this period. But the problem is that with the increasing use of online methods of communication, incidents of online harassment have been on the rise.
Female networks targeted
On May 16, the Female Foresters Network (FFN) had organised a meeting on the Zoom platform with participation of around 278 females, including a few international delegates. However, the webinar was hacked by spammers and it was flooded with pornography videos and vulgar Nepali words.
“We could clearly hear the voice of a boy using vulgar words and after a while some adult videos appeared in the webinar,” said Deepa Oli, member of FFN, adding, “This was our third webinar on Zoom and we had never faced such incidents in the previous ones.”
However, despite the incident, FFN continued with the webinar that day.
According to Oli, the male voice that they heard was also speaking derogatory words against feminism. “It was clear that the spammer was targeting female networks and what he did is an example of online harassment of females,” she said.
“Such types of videos had appeared during webinars organised by some of my friends previously but the disparaging words used against women in our webinar reveal the toxic mentality of the spammer,” stated Oli.
She further mentioned that a few males have been harassing females in this manner for their entertainment.
Despite using a corporate account, Zoom bombing had affected the FFN webinar.
“FFN was using a corporate account and we had paid for the services, yet we faced such an incident,” she said. “Our internal team is tracing the spammers and once we find any clue, we will go to the police and file a case.”
Similarly, on the same day itself, Digital Samvad had also faced Zoom bombing during its webinar related with digital payment features and its future in Nepal, where leading IT professionals of the country were participating.
Students not spared either
Meanwhile, another FFN member, Apsana Kafle, had also faced Zoom bombing during her college webinar. “A few days back, our college webinar on Zoom meeting application had been hacked by spammers and porn videos started appearing on our screens,” she said, adding, “Such incidents cause mental trauma for some students.”
According to her, some of her juniors could not sleep due to anxiety and one of them even puked after the incident.
“The videos were disgusting yet we were able to control the spammers and the meeting continued,” Kafle said. “Such attacks have been increasing in recent times and most of the times the spammers target female users,” she added.
According to her females have been facing such harassment not only on the Zoom platform but on other social media platforms too.
And Zoom bombing has not been limited to webinars only but during online classes too.
A young student named M