Zoom Does Not Want You ‘Zooming’ Around Naked On Its Video Platform

(stock images via Depositphotos)

The folks at Zoom, the video conferencing app, saw the number of daily users surge to more than 200 million during the month of March from a previous high of 10 million. The jump is mainly due to people self-isolating thanks to the ongoing coronavirus health threat.

Originally designed with business meetings and conference calls in mind, users are now utilizing Zoom for virtual birthday parties, Easter celebrations, dance classes, teachers engaging with students, and yes, even sex parties.

Rolling Stone did a deep dive into how some organizers of actual sex parties have moved into the digital space as a way to help individuals not only cope with fears of what’s going on in the world, but also as a way to stave off boredom.

However, Zoom does not want people using its app for sexual purposes.

“Zoom‘s user policies explicitly prohibit any obscene, indecent, illegal, or violent activity or content on the platform,” a spokesperson for the platform told Rolling Stone.

The spokesperson warned that the company would take a “number of actions” against those found using the app for “any activity that is harmful, obscene, or indecent, particularly as would be understood in the context of business usage,” including “displays of nudity, violence, pornography, [and] sexually explicit material.”

“We encourage users to report suspected violations of our policies, and we use a mix of tools, including machine learning, to proactively identify accounts that may be in violation,” added the spokesperson.

What’s not clear, exactly, is what “machine learning” tools are or how an algorithm would pick up on nudity or sex acts during a video chat. And the company’s privacy guidelines note that “video, audio chat content is not stored” on the platform “unless a meeting is recorded by the host.” That would seem to make monitoring content pretty difficult.

A gay man in Brooklyn (using the pseudonym Oscar Buzz) told Rolling Stone he’s been organizing underground sex parties for gay and trans men for years but started his Zoom events when the quarantine began.

Buzz describes his near-nightly Zoom sex parties as “a way to connect with the community, make sure they’re ok, and make sure they feel good about themselves.” He adds that he doesn’t charge for organizing his online parties.

Buzz, who asked Rolling Stone not to print the name of his events for fear of being kicked off Zoom, says the company has to know exhibitionists have been using the app for a long time.

“I think this is another instance of a business that wants to pretend it doesn’t do these things, but of course it does,” said Buzz.

As a nod to Zoom’s “corporate tool” messaging, he recently added a themed “business suit” party to his line up where participants pretended they were part of a mock business meeting – until the clothes came off.

Still, Buzz and other online sex party organizers do have concerns about the platform given the news that Zoom is being investigated for possible lapses in security practices.

For example, internet trolls have learned to exploit a screen-sharing feature in order to “Zoombomb” actual meetings. Some of these instances have included white supremacists hijacking a webinar on anti-Semitism to spread messages of hate.

There’s also a fear of not knowing who might be recording the virtual sex parties. Even though there’s a built-in feature that notifies participants when they’re being recorded, there’s no way of stopping someone from surreptitiously whipping out their phone to record when someone whips it out.

In any case, folks are going to find a way to make a “love connection” (wink wink) somehow, even during an epidemic.

As advice guy Dan Savage tweeted today, “Seems like Zoom could maybe turn a blind eye to consenting adults organizing safe online sex parties on their platform. How hard would that be?”

Huge Surge In Performer Signups For Online Sex Sites During COVID-19

Adult performer Max Konnor at home (image via Instagram)

As the coronavirus pandemic marches on, and folks continue to shelter at home, people are exploring new ways to make money to pay their bills.

The Labor Department recently reported that some 16 million people in the U.S. have applied for unemployment benefits, so it will come as no surprise that numbers in the online sex industry are rising at a quick pace.

Daryn Parker, the Vice President of CamSoda, a webcam site that streams live online broadcasts, told the New York Times he saw a 37 percent increase in new model sign-ups in March compared to the same period in 2019.

A similar “camming” site, ManyVids, shared their new model sign-ups had increased 69 percent.

Performers on the sites, sometimes called “cam models,” can offer to strip or dance on camera as viewers send them messages. The cam models earn tips for their efforts.

CamSoda shares the number of new viewers to the site has doubled compared to last spring.

You’d think that would mean bank for these online sex workers, but it’s not working out that way.

Mileena Kane, a cam model on CamSoda, told the Times that she’s noticed the influx of new viewers but it seems the new crop of viewers isn’t tipping very well.

“I’m meeting a whole bunch of people more frequently than I normally would, but there’s not much more money,” said Ms. Kane.

It would seem more and more people are watching (and making) sexual online performances but fewer are paying.

The increasingly popular OnlyFans site recently shared that there were 3.5 million new signups in March and 60,000 of those were new content creators.

“As far as sex workers go and cammers go, we are pushing ourselves a little bit harder to make sure that we can entertain people from their homes and encourage people to stay inside their homes,” said popular gay adult performer Max Konnor.

Konnor adds that he’s glad he only commits to two-hour “shows.” Other performers interviewed by the Times say they often work 12-hour days, but with the influx of new performers that doesn’t always mean making more money.

Additionally, the webcam sites take hefty splits of the income for hosting the content, some of them as high as 50 percent.

One performer shared that, in a single day, sometimes they make $30 and other days it can be as much as $300.

Even for folks not looking to pay to view sex online there’s been a huge increase in viewers.

Adult entertainment giant Pornhub reported on April 3 “worldwide traffic to Pornhub has been much higher than it was before the Coronavirus pandemic spread worldwide” adding that the “peak increase of 24.4% happened on March 25th” after the site offered free Premium service in many countries.

(source: New York Times)