Photo: Courtesy of Omegle
Omegle has officially shut down after 14 years. This day is saddest for the perverts and creepers online, but we all have our memories: It was – for all its horrors – the go-to sleepover activity in the 2010s.
Through its 14 years of existence, the video-chatting website had one USP: “talk to strangers”. It was essentially the quickest, easiest way to land yourself face to face with anyone in the world. Obviously, this was always a dodgy idea: The site has been mentioned in over 50 cases against paedophiles in the last few years, and there have been many more claims of abuse from users.
Now, when you go to the site, all that remains is a picture of a gravestone with a goodbye note from its founder, Leif Brooks. Omegle is “no longer sustainable, financially nor psychologically”, he explains.
Brooks opened the site when he was 18 as a way of building a sense of “social spontaneity” on the Internet that “didn’t exist elsewhere”. Over the years, it’s become a source of some iconic Vines, some chaos memories and even friendships and marriages.
But, as the founder acknowledges, “there can be no honest accounting of Omegle without acknowledging that some people misused it, including to commit unspeakably heinous crimes”.
The goodbye message is accompanied by a quote from Douglas Adams: “In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” RIP, Omegle.