The FBI Friday urged Southern Californians to take precautions to prevent "offensive and illegal material" from being posted during virtual meetings by uninvited participants.
"The COVID-19 crisis has caused many organizations and schools to conduct virtual meetings/events, some of which are open to the public," Laura Eimiller of the FBI said in a statement.
"Additionally, links to many virtual events are being shared online, resulting in a lack of vetting of approved participants," Eimiller said.
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During the last few months, the FBI has received nearly 200 reports of incidents throughout the United States and in other countries in which a Zoom participant was able to broadcast a video depicting child sexual abuse material, Eimiller said.
"The FBI considers this activity to be a violent crime, as every time child sexual abuse material is viewed, the depicted child is re-victimized," Eimiller said. "Furthermore, anyone who inadvertently sees child sexual abuse material depicted during a virtual event is potentially a victim as well."
The FBI offered the following advice for those who have had their Zoom meetings targeted:
-- If you are the administrator or host of a Zoom meeting in which child sexual abuse material was broadcast, contact the FBI; do not delete or destroy any of your computer logs without further direction.
-- If you recorded a Zoom meeting in which child sexual abuse material was broadcast, contact the FBI for assistance in removing the material from your device.
-- If you believe you are a victim of a child sexual abuse material broadcast during a Zoom event, contact the FBI to learn about your victim rights and possible victim assistance.
-- And if you know who is committing these crimes, contact the FBI.
The FBI also offered the following steps to mitigate future child sexual abuse material issues during Zoom events:
-- Do not make meetings or classrooms public.
-- In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: requiring a meeting password, and using the ``waiting room'' feature and control the admittance of guests.
-- Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted, publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific attendees.
-- And manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to "Host Only."
If you are a victim of child sexual abuse material being broadcast during a Zoom event, or if you have information regarding the identity of any individual distributing or producing such material, report it to the FBI at 800-CALL-FBI; or anonymously online at tips.fbi.gov.