“There can be no honest accounting of Omegle without acknowledging that some people misused it, including to commit unspeakably heinous crimes,” Omegle’s founder, Leif K-Brooks shared in a statement to announce the site’s permanent closure. I mean… he said it.
Everyone has an Omegle story. From the more wholesome tales of connecting with strangers across the globe, as per the site’s intended use, to decidedly more sinister stories, there’s no doubt that Omegle was a central pillar of growing up on the Internet, and pop culture at large. But what happened to send Omegle to its grave?
Let’s not beat around the bush: Omegle was a predatory playground. Ask around about people’s experiences on the cursed chatroom, and many of those will involve unsolicited flashes. And that’s putting it mildly.
Considering that an overwhelming majority of its users were literal children, it’s not hard to see why Omegle came to its demise.
For 14 years, the site existed (relatively) unchallenged. You knew what you were getting with Omegle – it was bad, but it was just there, on some corner of the Internet at all times: a sinister constant, some would say. But in recent years, that all changed.
Some blame lockdown, some blame TikTok, but Omegle had something of a subverted renaissance in recent years. Over lockdown, new (and young) users flooded the site looking for a) someone to talk to or b) someone to tell them they’re hot, and then post that on TikTok.
In honour of Omegle being deleted- I want to bring back this iconic moment pic.twitter.com/uiWrcXuiQ4— Hoeja Cat 🟥⭐️ (@T_llulah) November 9, 2023
This, and general crackdowns on “communication sites” are to blame for Omegle’s fall, according to Brooks. Citing humanity’s affinity to “attack,” the founder said that Omegle was subjected to “a constant barrage of attacks… based on the behaviour of a malicious subset of users.”
For many, Omegle’s shutdown will be akin to Club Penguin’s: eliciting reactions of indifference, mild dismay, or only worth mentioning that it’s a shame at best. Whether you agree or disagree with the closure, Brooks’ fight is very much still happening: “the battle for Omegle has been lost, but the war against the Internet rages on.”
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