Custom backgrounds in Microsoft Teams video meetings can be great fun and can also add a degree of professionalism to when working from your messy kitchen.
In class, however, student customisable backgrounds are fertile ground for mischief and disruption.
Fortunately, you can now manage custom background in Teams through a new set of policies:
- You can stop students customising their background entirely.
- Allow students to only blur their background.
- Allow students to blur their background and or set one from the inbuilt backgrounds, but not upload their own.
- Allow students to fully customise their background.
One thing you can’t currently do, which would be great, is to set a branded custom background or offer a selection of school mandated backgrounds. Come on Microsoft, go one further!
How to use Teams policies to manage custom backgrounds
Currently, you can only use PowerShell to set this policy, it can’t be done in the Teams admin center, so your administrator will probably need to be involved.
You can edit an existing Teams meeting policy by using the Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy cmdlet. Or, create a new Teams meeting policy by using the New-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy cmdlet, and then assign the policy to users.
To specify whether users can customize their video background in a meeting, set the VideoFiltersMode parameter as follows:
You should be aware that Images uploaded by users aren’t moderated, so be careful with the permissions you set. I recommend turning off the AllFilters setting for students, you should have internal organization policies to prevent users from uploading offensive or inappropriate images, or images your organization don’t have rights to use for Teams meeting backgrounds.