‘Don’t want to have heart attack’: Founder explains Omegle shutdown decision
Founder Leif K-Brooks, who was only 18 when he launched Omegle, explained the reasons behind the decision in a nearly two-page note
Omegle, the online chat platform that let you chat with random strangers, has shut down after 14 years.
“The Internet is full of cool people; Omegle lets you meet them. When you use Omegle, we pick someone else at random so you can have a one-on-one chat” — read the description of the site that started in 2009.
Founder Leif K-Brooks, who was only 18 when he launched Omegle, announced the shutdown in an emotional letter that users can now see on the site’s homepage. He explained the reasons behind the decision in the nearly two-page note, which opens with the picture of a tombstone reading “Omegle 2009–2023”.
Why Omegle has shut down
K-Brooks has cited the cost of managing Omegle and its potential misuse as the primary reasons behind the decision.
He said in a statement, “As much as I wish circumstances were different…the existing stress and expense of operating Omegle, and fighting its misuse — are simply too much. Operating Omegle is no longer sustainable, financially nor psychologically. Frankly, I don’t want to have a heart attack in my 30s.”
K-Brooks acknowledged that the platform had been misused by some people even to commit serious crimes. “There can be no honest accounting of Omegle without acknowledging that some people misused it, including to commit unspeakably heinous crimes,” he wrote.
A word on the positives
He also thanked users who used the platform responsibly and highlighted some of its positives. “Over the years, people have used Omegle to explore foreign cultures; to get advice about their lives from impartial third parties; and to help alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation. I’ve even heard stories of soulmates meeting on Omegle, and getting married. Those are only some of the highlights,” he wrote.
He also mentioned that “virtually every online communication service has been subject to the same kinds of attacks as Omegle” but some of them are larger companies with greater resources to tackle these. “…thank you to everyone who used Omegle for positive purposes, and to everyone who contributed to the site’s success in any way. I’m so sorry I couldn’t keep fighting for you,” he signed off.