Video chat service Omegle has been shut down following years of dark allegations against the platform.
The platform, founded in 2009, allowed people to connect with strangers randomly. Users didn’t know who they would be linked with at any given time, meaning adults from anywhere in the world often contacted children. People were typically paired based on similar interests. An instance that garnered global attention and illuminated the risks associated with the platform was the 2017 arrest of a 40-year-old Wales man who forced minors as young as 11 to engage in sexual acts for him on the video app.
Activists have called for the site to be shut down due to similar interests over the years, to no avail. Now, the site’s founder, Leif K-Brooks, has decided to end Omegle for good. The decision arrived just days after Omegle settled a lawsuit over a child being put in touch with a pedophile on the platform.
“Virtually every tool can be used for good or for evil. There can be no honest accounting of Omegle without acknowledging that some people misused it, including to commit unspeakably heinous crimes,” Brooks wrote in a lengthy statement on the site this week.
As of Thursday, the site had been converted to Brooks’ lengthy announcement. There is no longer an option to sign up or use any other features. It’s unclear how long the page will remain in place, but there is also a tombstone photo, signaling the end of what was meant to connect strangers with new friends.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who used Omegle for positive purposes and to everyone who contributed to the site’s success in any way. I’m so sorry I couldn’t keep fighting for you,” Brooks concluded the statement.