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Omegle, the Wild West of the World Wide Web, Is Shutting Down Permanently

Omegle, the Wild West of the World Wide Web, Is Shutting Down Permanently

Omegle Shuts Down Permanently
Images: Shutterstock

After years of being involved in child sexual abuse lawsuits, the website is gone.

One of the Wild Wests of the World Wide Web has officially shut down.

Omegle, an anonymous, randomized chat site that has been running for the last 14 years, has shuttered forever as part of a settlement in a $22 million sex trafficking lawsuit against the site.

Omegle was founded by Leif K-Brooks when he was 18 and still living with his mother. The site offered people a way to connect with random people across the globe in an instant, chatting with people who had all kinds of different experiences and worldviews.

Unfortunately, due to the randomness and lack of moderators, the site quickly became a haven for pedophiles, sexual predators, and others seeking to manipulate random people across the world.

In the last few years, Omegle has been involved in over 50 cases against pedophiles who used the site, and after one case involving an anonymous woman going by “Alice” or “A.M.”, the site has decided to permanently close down.

A.M. was using Omegle when she was just 11 when she was randomly paired with a pedophile named Ryan Fordyce, who over the next several years, manipulated and coerced her into sending over 220 images and videos. He did the same with three other girls he met on the website.

After Fordyce was sentenced to prison, she filed a lawsuit against Omegle seeking $22 million in compensation. She ended up settling out of court for an undisclosed sum. However, the out of court settlement also allowed for the closure of the website, something that A.M. is happy about.

“Getting the site shut down was something I couldn’t have achieved in court, so I got to tailor the outcome,” she told the BBC. “Accomplishing everything we were able to in court and then obtaining the result now – probably years earlier than we could have reached a jury verdict – is something I’ll never stop being proud of.”

On a

message he wrote on the Omegle website, K-Brooks wrote that “there can be no honest accounting of Omegle without acknowledging that some people misused it, including to commit unspeakably heinous crimes,” and thanked A.M “for opening my eyes to the human cost of Omegle.”
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Mey Rude

Mey Rude is a journalist and cultural critic who has been covering queer news for a decade. The transgender, Latina lesbian lives in Los Angeles with her fiancée.

Mey Rude is a journalist and cultural critic who has been covering queer news for a decade. The transgender, Latina lesbian lives in Los Angeles with her fiancée.