Stop anonymous attendees from disrupting meetings


I am trying to figure out how to control potentially disruptive people joining a public council meeting.


What I’d like to achieve

  • Those who have entered anonymously via the lobby should return to the lobby when removed. Currently, they can press re-join on their screen and go straight back in! I think this a bug and my posts on this have been ignored.
  • I would like to stop anonymous users from chatting, ideally with authenticated users still having the possibility. Failing that being able to delete their messages would be good.

Ideally, I’d like to make someone an observer – no chat, no talk. If I could make that automatic for those being held at the lobby that would be perfect.

The information in the product and documents around meeting policies and settings seems confused


The documentation says

Meeting policy settings - Participants & guests

These settings control which meeting participants wait in the lobby before they are admitted to the meeting and the level of participation they are allowed in a meeting.


With the allow chat option saying

“Allow chat in meetings

This is a per-organizer policy. This setting controls whether meeting chat is allowed in the user's meeting.”

If it is a per-organizer setting according to this documentation it only applies to participants and guests.?

But in the product ( the same section of Meetings/Meeting policies the on-screen description says:

Participants & guests

Participant and guest settings let you control access to Teams meetings for people that dial in using a phone. Learn more

i.e. that these settings only apply to phone users?
Sound a bit unlikely – how (and why) would a phone user enable live captions?

But I am uncertain what disabling chat means here (and of course, with huge lag in policies it is very hard to experiment).

So, can I have chat on for authenticated participants and off for anonymous attendees?

I think Ideally what I’d like is a “silent” mode for attendees – so that they can’t turn on their microphone. i.e. a policy/setting that makes attendees into observers only.


4 Replies

Hi@Ian Cunningham , Ryan is correct.  A Teams meeting is designed to be collaboration session with full participation from everyone.  A Live Event would be what you are looking for, which would be more useful for distributing content to most users but allowing a select few to fully participate in the event.

A channel meeting would also work to keep anonymous users out of chat, but they will still be able to unmute and talk to everyone.

Another option could be doing a Group chat depending how large the meeting is. If it's under 25 you can utilize group chat, and call, which does not allow anonymous users to join the call and it has most of the same features as a meeting.

@Ryan Steele 


Thanks - I didn;t think this was included in our licence 

Lookign at the relevant page 

Here are the licenses that must be assigned:

  • An Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3, or E5 license or an Office 365 A3 or A5 license
  • A Microsoft Teams license
  • A Microsoft Stream license
    Which implies that you need to add additional licences - specifically streams. And I fairly sure that when i first looked at way back, it was only in the bigger licenses
    (For various reasons we will not be allowed to purchase additional licenses in year)

So I have been under the misapprehension that we would need to buy additional licences for live events (whereas re-reading it might just be a technical point that we have those licenses but they need to be assigned.)

But -rereading the feature compare list it does say Live Events in the list 

(I also note that Stream is in there anyway - which it wasn't the first time I looked at the stream).

So thanks - I will experiment straightaway.

I am guessing that all the councillors at the meeting will need to be presenters - they can and must be allowed to speak at any time.