Zoom Sabotage

New app enables you to create fake sounds in order to leave meetings.

Dismayed at why so many things that used to be handled by, say, a phone call, or an email, now suddenly require everyone’s floating head to sit in a virtual room and nod for an hour?

Well, you're not alone! A developer has now created the Zoom Escaper, a free web widget that lets you add an array of fake audio effects to your next Zoom call - so that others on the call will want you to get off the line. It's a kind of covert sabotage!

“My hope with Zoom Escaper is that people use it to escape Zoom calls and do less work,” says Sam Lavigne, the app’s creator. “I’ve been thinking about how sabotage might work in a digital context, especially one where the means of production are also personal devices that mediate your social life.”

The application provides a library of annoying sounds to use as a get-out-of-Zoom-free-card. It can replicate the sound of a bad connection - like a modern day, tech upgrade of the old “rustle a sweet wrapper against the receiver” trick - only, instead of fake static sound, this is all broken-up words and incomprehensible speech. Some are more customarily frustrating sounds, like an echo you can’t get rid of, making you sound like you’re stuck in a time warp, annoying everyone on the video call who can no longer understand you and want to know whether you are, in fact, Zooming while stuck in a well.

They are all designed to have the same outcome - that is, to trigger everyone on the call to find you so irritating that they tell you to leave, or allowing you to bow out gracefully - for the benefit of everyone else, of course. What a hero!