Hiding observers from a Zoom group

08 Feb 2021 | Research & Business Knowledge

Zoom’s policy is that everyone attending a Zoom meeting must be aware that there are other people on it (so you cannot set up ‘secret’ observers in advance) – and indeed this is also enshrined in the MRS Code of Conduct (respondents must be told in advance that there may be observers, and also at the beginning of the interview). However, Zoom does allow people to switch themselves off so that they do not impact the session. Here is how to do it…

1. Ask observers to switch video off (& mute themselves).

2. Ask them to change their names to just first name or initials (to stay anonymous).

3. Respondents will, when they join, see black boxes with the names / initials of the observers. Ask them to click on the three little dots on any of these boxes which gives them the option to hide non-video participants (they only have to do it once).

4. You do the same or change the settings that non-video participants don’t show (that’s only for you, so you need to do step 2). It’s a bit cumbersome but actually never found it to be a problem.

Many thanks to Karin Heath for this explanation