Live chat app Omegle shuts down after 14 years following user abuse claims

Video chat site Omegle has been closed down by its creator, 14 years after it first launched.

It follows a number of claims of abuse by users of the platform.

Omegle was first launched in 2009 by Leif K-Brooks, who wanted to launch a site for 'social spontaneity'.

The chat app was free and allowed users to socialise with anyone around the world while remaining anonymous.

Mr Brooks has since spoken out, saying he decided to shut it down after the "stress and expense" of keeping it running, with several lawsuits against the site.

The platform became known by some for its explicit content on live chats, including nudity.

With teens able to live chat to anyone, anywhere, there were regular claims of abuse - and the website was often criticised by children's safety charities, looking to prevent children falling victim to sexual predators. 

The above image was posted online to mark the site's closure. Credit: Omegle

During recent years, the site boasted more than 70 million monthly users globally.

In a statement released before the website completely closed down, Mr Brooks said that operating the site was "no longer sustainable, financially nor psychologically".

"There can be no honest accounting of Omegle without acknowledging that some people misused it, including to commit unspeakably heinous crimes," he said.

"As much as I wish circumstances were different, the stress and expense of this fight - coupled with the existing stress and expense of operating Omegle, and fighting its misuse - are simply too much.

"Frankly, I don't want to have a heart attack in my 30s."

Mr Brooks slammed people who he said had "misused" Omegle.

To find out more on this story, follow this link to watch ITV News' Here's The Story.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...