The video chat application Omegle is ceasing its activities on Thursday after 14 years of existence following numerous complaints from victims of online sexual abuse.
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This service, which quickly became popular among young people during the pandemic, made it possible to connect virtually and randomly with strangers around the world. This free application was accessible to children aged 13 and over with parental permission. However, in recent years, the platform’s dark side has quickly emerged, particularly the commission of “heinous crimes,” Omegle founder Leif K-Brooks announced in a written letter shared in the application. This site made it possible to bring minors into contact with sex offenders.
The Omegle founder also added that the “fear and expansion of this fight because of some people’s misuse of the app” has become too demanding and difficult for him. “Running Omegle is no longer sustainable, either financially or psychologically,” he says.
The announcement of Omegle’s closure comes days after a civil lawsuit was filed in an Oregon court seeking $22 million. According to the Washington Post, an 11-year-old girl was allegedly in a video chat with an adult man who forced her to engage in sexual acts online for three years before he was arrested by police.
A Virginia man was also reportedly sentenced to 16 years in prison in August for secretly filming hundreds of explicit videos on Omegle while chatting with “at least” 1,000 underage girls.