Can Teachers Hear ‘Muted’ Students on Zoom?

Zoom allows hosts of meetings, such as educators, to hear participants whose microphones are turned off. In early 2021, Snopes became mindful of viral TikTok video that alleged school administrators or teachers could use a particular Zoom feature that allowed them to hear students even when their computer microphones appeared to be turned off or muted .
Over the course of months, TikTok user @ shokshooter posted a series of video perpetuating the conspiracy hypothesis, including footage that he framed as interactions between him and teachers on the video chatting service with his account ’ south “ mute ” sport turned on. By enabling the mute set, Zoom users are supposed to be able to block all in-person audio or background randomness from interrupting the virtual get-together .
Screen Shot 2021 02 11 at 2.11.05 PM

The TikTok drug user, whose identity remained unknown, posted a video recording on Feb. 10 that alleged he had the below-displayed Zoom conversation with person he claimed to be his teacher while his microphone was purportedly turned off .

Alleged teacher: Are you calm here ?
@shokshooter: Yeah .
Alleged teacher: Did you need something ?
@shokshooter: You know I ’ m muted obviously, right ?
Alleged teacher: I can ’ triiodothyronine discourse that .
@shokshooter: OK, well you do. Can you tell me how that works, because it kind of seems fishy ?
Alleged teacher: I have another class I need to get to. We can discuss this another time .

The TikTok exploiter framed his video as evidence of some kind of program or feature that allows agency figures such as teachers to secretly listen in on Zoom users whose computer screens showed a crimson lineage through a microphone symbol in the corner, purportedly meaning their microphones are “ muted. ”
The alleged teacher in the Feb. 10 video recording remained obscure .
We reached out to @ shokshooter ’ randomness TikTok and Instagram accounts — both of which display the nickname “ Mic Mute Man ” — to discuss the allegations he made in the video, but we have not received a reaction. We will update this report when or if we do.

To investigate the underlying claim, however, we sought any evidence of a feature or application that allowed sealed Zoom users to hear all meet participants, careless of their microphone or audio settings .
A world wide web page on Zoom ’ s Help Center, an on-line hub to help users navigate the program, read :

As the host or co-host in a meet, you can manage your participants, including muffle and unmuting participants to manage background noise and distractions. All participants can besides mute or unmute themselves, unless the host has prevented them from unmuting .
Due to privacy and security reasons, the host cannot unmute other participants without their consent. The host can either use the Ask All to Unmute option, which will prompt every exploiter to unmute themselves, or can schedule the meet with Request license to unmute participants enabled, which will prompt the participants for pre-approval to be unmuted by the host .

In other words, the video recording chatting service gives hosts ( the users who schedule the virtual meetings and invite others to join ) the authority to determine how all other participants can use their microphones .
The hosts can turn people ’ s mics off — muting them — involuntarily, or they can choose options that allow participants to decide the audio context for themselves throughout the meet .
so while the technology allows teachers, presumably hosts of Zoom classes, to mute students, the web service ’ s guidelines explicitly state of matter that such users can not unmute participants without their approval first base, due to laws governing communication privacy .
Let us note hera : At the start of, or throughout, meetings, hosts can turn people ’ s dumb setting off — allowing their voice or background noise to be heard — only if the participant previously granted consent for that action. See the below-displayed case of that question to Zoom users, which Snopes obtained via its Help Center .
Screen Shot 2021 02 11 at 3.20.48 PM
In the viral TikTok television, however, the narrator not only alleged the presume hosts of his Zoom meetings unmuted him against his will, but besides that his view of the video chatting serve showed his microphone turned off.

We reached out to Zoom to ask if it offered any features or programs to which users could subscribe that enabled them to hear meeting participants whose screens showed them muted. Matt Nagel, a spokesperson for the company, responded to our question via e-mail :

The suffice is no, and it ’ s inauspicious that people appear to be fabricating video recording footage and spreading misinformation to the contrary. Zoom takes security and privacy very seriously. We do not offer the ability, or a disjoined plan, other software, or any early means to secretly unmute and listen to others .

In sum, while the demand motivation or circumstances of @ shokshooter ’ s video remained unknown — they could have been prerecorded Zoom meetings that he framed as live interactions with teachers, or he may have used mute-unmute keyboard shortcuts and video recording editing to make his claim — their allegations were not true .

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Category : Tech

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