Someone uploaded pornographic images to a Federal Reserve Zoom call, forcing the 220-participant event to shut down

Christopher Waller testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee during a hearing on their nomination to be member-designate on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on February 13, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller was supposed to give his remarks, but the Zoom call was infiltrated by a participant displaying pornographic photos.Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

  • A Zoom call with the Federal Reserve was interrupted by a participant who displayed porn images.

  • The 220-person call was meant to feature Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller’s remarks.

  • The pornographic images started appearing minutes before the event was to start, per Reuters.

A Zoom conference with the Federal Reserve had to be shut down on Thursday after a participant began displaying porn images on the call, per multiple media reports.

Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller was supposed to be delivering remarks on the state of the economy in an online event hosted by the Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America, or MBCA, according to the Federal Reserve website.

But minutes before the event was to kick off, one of its participants started displaying pornographic images on the call, according to Reuters. A reporter from the outlet was present at the meeting.

The participant’s listed name on the Zoom call was “Dan,” Reuters reported, but no further details identifying this person have been made public.

Brent Tjarks, the executive director of the MBCA, told Reuters that he wasn’t sure exactly what happened, but he suspected the call’s forced-mute function for viewers wasn’t set correctly.

The outlet wrote that microphones and video inputs weren’t muted before the event began, and that more than 220 people were on the call before it was shut down.

Tjarks said the MBCA canceled the call after discussing with the Federal Reserve, per Reuters.

He called the event the “victim of a teleconferencing or Zoom hijacking,” according to Bloomberg.

“We are working with Zoom and information technology support to ensure this deeply regrettable incident never happens again,” he told the outlet.

The Federal Reserve told Bloomberg that the call had been terminated due to “technical difficulties” and that the event was canceled.

The Federal Reserve and MBCA did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

A Zoom spokesperson told Insider in an email that the company is “deeply upset” to hear of disruptions like Thursday’s and “strongly condemns such behavior.”

“We take meeting disruptions extremely seriously and, where appropriate, we work closely with law enforcement authorities,” the spokesperson said.

“Zoom-bombing,” where pranksters infiltrate video calls to troll participants, emerged as the COVID-19 pandemic began and as Zoom rose to become the default conferencing platform for businesses and schools.

The spate of unwanted intrusions prompted Zoom to bolster its security practices with features like alerting users when meeting hosts use third-party apps, end-to-end encryption, and an overhaul of how tightly and precisely meeting hosts can control their calls.

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