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January 13, 2023updated 28 Apr 2023 9:44am

What is Omegle?

With a tagline of "Talk to Strangers", Omegle was almost surely destined to face controversy.

By Tech Monitor Staff

Omegle was first launched in 2009 and, since then, it has hit the peak of its popularity between then and 2015, when it started falling over time. However, during the pandemic, its numbers rose back up, even if it hasn’t been as high since.

It is a virtual chat room, where strangers can communicate freely from all around the globe.

Homepage of Omegle website on the display of PC

Omegle’s home screen, where one can select interests and categories. Image: Sharaf Maksumov/Shutterstock

However, because the chats are often unmoderated, Omegle comes with some risks.

What is Omegle?

Omegle is a free online chat website that allows users to talk to other people. 

They do not have to register and the service will randomly pair users in a one-on-one chat session where they chat anonymously using the screen names “You” and “Stranger” or, when in Spy (incognito) mode, “Stranger 1” and “Stranger 2”.

The modes of communication are either video or text or, sometimes, both. The way people are paired is through interests, which one can select before starting to talk with others, which work like hashtags. For instance, one could select a music interest and would only get paired with someone who chose the same category.

Why does Omegle censor certain users?

Omegle’s moderation of the chats and conversation is both checked by humans and algorithms, which means that the reasons why someone could be censored on the app are varied.

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If computer algorithms notice inorganic traffic, for example, logging in from different devices with the same IP address signals spam behaviour. Or if a user keeps deleting messages it could mean that they are sending the same messages to multiple individuals. 

However, most of the time bans are unmotivated. If one’s internet connection is not working properly, it could alert the algorithm and the user could be kicked out of the site. 

The video option is not regulated by humans either, therefore users can be reported only by other users since the computer can’t detect the use of profanities or inappropriate behaviour via video. 

Read more: Vanuatu is showing small nations how to resist big cyberattacks

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