Nieuws - 4 mei 2020

Blog: Please stop publishing screenshots of videocalls

In a previous blog, Donatella wrote about the move-everything-online hype. There’s one thing that she forgot to mention in that blog.

Have you heard yet that I don’t agree with the move-everything-online marathon? If not, check out this other blog of mine. There’s one thing that I forgot to mention in that blog. I keep on seeing, pretty much everywhere, from Facebook to LinkedIn, from Instagram to Twitter, screenshots of video calls. They include skype family reunions for birthdays, international meetings, sports classes, university lessons. They appear nonchalantly in private Instagram stories as well as public profiles and pages of organisations. This trend of taking ‘event pictures’ – mostly squares with funny faces in their rooms or kitchens – besides being an irrelevant and extremely boring thing to see on my feed - seems to me like a blatant violation of privacy.

A little bit too much
I do realise that privacy - and consent to be on random people’s online platforms - stopped being a thing since the advent of live streams and stories (and this is a whole other topic for which we should reserve some attention ...), but now, with all this work-related stuff displaying someone’s face in their rooms with perhaps a fairly horrible expression, it’s all a little bit too much. I don’t want anyone to take a screenshot of a videocall in which I happen to be participating. And besides the fact that organisers may  (hopefully!) ask permission, this does not prevent any other participant from taking some other picture of anyone else’s face at any other given moment.

I don’t want anyone to take a screenshot of a videocall in which I happen to be participating

‘No, sorry’
While in live meetings around tables we see each other clearly, and if someone randomly raises a phone for a picture, we can kindly say ‘no sorry, I don’t want to be in your picture’, with video calls we have absolutely no idea what’s happening. Even with presentations, the material can just be screenshotted by anyone attending the meeting. I don’t think everyone is okay with being in a stranger’s Instagram story. I don’t think everyone is okay with their slides being at the mercy of anyone participating in a presentation. So please, be considerate, ask for permission, and in general just avoid taking screenshots of videocalls and publishing them on your social media.

Donatella Gasparro graduated last month as a master’s student in Organic Agriculture; she hails from Italy.