The video chat service Omegle has shut down after years of claims of abuse and exploitation. The site, which allowed users to chat with strangers anonymously, was often used by predators to target children and other vulnerable users.
Omegle was launched in 2009 and quickly became popular with teenagers and young adults. The site allowed users to connect with strangers from all over the world via video chat or text chat. However, Omegle was also known for being a haven for predators.
In 2012, a 13-year-old girl was raped by a man she met on Omegle. In 2014, a 12-year-old girl was lured into a sex trafficking ring through Omegle. And in 2017, a 10-year-old girl was groomed for sexual abuse by a man she met on Omegle.
Despite these high-profile cases, Omegle took little action to protect its users. The site had no age verification process, and users could easily create new accounts if they were banned.
In recent years, there has been growing pressure on Omegle to shut down. In 2021, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received more than 11,000 reports of child sexual abuse related to Omegle.
On November 9, 2023, Omegle founder Leif K-Brooks announced that the site was shutting down. In a statement, Brooks said that he was “no longer comfortable” operating Omegle, given the “constant barrage of attacks on communication services based on the behavior of a malicious subset of users.”
Omegle has shut down after 14 years due to ample misuse of the platform, particularly the sexual abuse of minors. The site faced significant scrutiny for becoming a breeding ground for child pornography and other abuse. The future of anonymous chat sites is uncertain, but there are many other social media platforms and chat sites available that offer similar services.