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Video chat website Omegle, shuts down after 14 years



Popular social media network, Omegle, was shut down on Thursday after years of connecting strangers on the Internet.

Launched in 2009, the video chat site which enabled users to meet with new people from all across the world ceased operations 14 years after its inception.

The Chief Executive Officer, Leif K-Brooks, made the announcement on Thursday stating that the “battle” to keep the service afloat “has been lost.”

In the statement which featured the image of a gravestone with “Omegle” printed on it, K-Brooks emphasised that the service had several highlights throughout the years, most especially forging positive connections all across the world.

However, he also mentioned that some people used the site to “commit unspeakably heinous crimes”.

The statement read in part, “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.

“Unfortunately, there are also lowlights. Virtually every tool can be used for good or for evil, and that is especially true of communication tools, due to their innate flexibility. The telephone can be used to wish your grandmother ‘happy birthday’, but it can also be used to call in a bomb threat. There can be no honest accounting of Omegle without acknowledging that some people misused it, including to commit unspeakably heinous crimes.

“Omegle’s moderation even had a positive impact beyond the site. Omegle worked with law enforcement agencies, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to help put evildoers in prison where they belong. There are ‘people’ rotting behind bars right now thanks in part to evidence that Omegle proactively collected against them, and tipped the authorities off to.”

Despite the efforts invested in ensuring the service keeps functioning, K-Brooks admitted that operating the service was no longer “sustainable, financially nor psychologically”.

“Unfortunately, what is right doesn’t always prevail. 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. Operating Omegle is no longer sustainable, financially nor psychologically. Frankly, I don’t want to have a heart attack in my 30s.

“The battle for Omegle has been lost, but the war against the Internet rages on. Virtually every online communication service has been subject to the same kinds of attack as Omegle; and while some of them are much larger companies with much greater resources, they all have their breaking point somewhere,” he wrote.

While Omegle has existed since 2009, the service experienced a surge in users during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has remained popular since then with several recording of users’ video chats going viral on other social media platforms.

However, with the increased popularity also came scrutiny from critics with many claiming that the service become a haven for sexual predators.

In July 2022, Omegle was dragged to court by a user who claimed that the company paired her a pedophile when she was 11 years old. The plaintiff claimed the predator went on to sexually exploit her, demanding for nude pictures and issuing threats against her for a period of three years.

The court ruled in favour of plaintiff, stating that Omegle cannot raise a defence based on Section 230 of the United States’ Communications Decency Act. The law was enacted to protect companies from being held responsible for third-party content created on their platforms.


Dangote offers to sell refinery to NNPC over monopoly allegation




Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, says he is willing to sell his oil refinery to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.

Aliko spoke in an interview with Premium Times on Sunday.

The billionaire’s statement comes amid a dispute between the refinery and Nigeria’s regulatory authorities in Nigeria.

“Let them (NNPCL) buy me out and run the refinery the best way they can. They have labelled me a monopolist,” Dangote said.

“That’s an incorrect and unfair allegation, but it’s okay. If they buy me out, at least, their so-called monopolist would be out of the way.

“We have been facing fuel crisis since the 70s. This refinery can help in resolving the problem but it does appear some people are uncomfortable that I am in the picture.

“As you probably know, I am 67 years old, in less than three years, I will be 70. I need very little to live the rest of my life.

“I can’t take the refinery or any other property or asset to my grave. Everything I do is in the interest of my country.

“So, I am ready to let go, let the NNPC buy me out, run the refinery. At least the country will have high-quality products and create jobs.”

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NCAA to launch portal to track airline performance in August




The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says there are plans to launch a consumer protection portal to address complaints within the aviation sector.

Michael Achimugu, director of public affairs and consumer protection at the NCAA, told TheCable on Friday.

According to Achimugu, the portal is expected to be launched in August.

He also said the aim of the project will allow passengers to log complaints, track the on-time performance of airlines, and access self-reported data on the resolution of cases, making airline performance data publicly accessible and transparent.

“Our consumer protection portal is ready for deployment. We are currently training our officers. It will go live in August,” Achimugu said.

“The portal will enable the collection of flight operations data real-time-on-time and complaints filling and resolution.

“Invariably, the public will be able to see in real-time, each airline’s performance as regards flight operations (timeliness) and complaints handling and resolution (customer experience).”

In January, Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation and aerospace development, said the ministry would start publishing delayed or cancelled flights by domestic airlines.

The minister said airlines cannot be sanctioned by suspending their operations.

Shedding light on the minister’s promise, Achimugu said the consumer portal will encourage transparency and accountability of airlines.

“As for naming and shaming, it was always going to be better to have a transparent and incontestable system where customer experience and real-time data would be the reporting system,” he said.

“Our consumer protection portal ensures that the performance of each airline reports itself for such scrutiny.”

Achimugu also said there would be fairness in the evaluation of consumers’ complaints.

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INTERPOL blocks 720 bank accounts linked with online frauds in West Africa




The International Criminal Police Organization(INTERPOL) said it has blocked over 720 bank accounts linked with online financial frauds across West African countries.

The organization said this was the outcome of its sting operation tagged ‘Operation Jackal III’, which ran from 10 April to 3 July across 21 countries on five continents.

It added that the operation targeted online financial fraud and the West African syndicates behind it.

According to a statement from INTERPOL, the operation led to hundreds of arrests, the seizure of assets worth USD 3 million, and the dismantling of multiple criminal networks around the world.

INTERPOL further disclosed that Portuguese criminal police, which it worked with, dismantled a Nigerian network involved in money mule recruitment, laundering funds from online financial fraud victims across Europe. More than 25 syndicate members were identified in the process.

“Data from seized computers and phones revealed large transfers to Nigerian bank accounts, cryptocurrency transactions, and sophisticated money laundering operations,” it stated.

Commenting on the operations, Director of INTERPOL’s Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre (IFCACC), Isaac Oginni, said:

“The volume of financial fraud stemming from West Africa is alarming and increasing. This operation’s results underscore the critical need for international law enforcement collaboration to combat these extensive criminal networks.

“By identifying suspects, recovering illicit funds and putting some of West Africa’s most dangerous organized crime leaders behind bars, we are able to weaken their influence and reduce their capacity to harm communities around the world.”

In Argentina, INTERPOL said Operation Jackal III saw the dismantling of a Nigerian-led transnational criminal network following a five-year investigation. It added that the country’s Federal Police seized USD 1.2 million in ‘supernotes’ – high-quality counterfeit banknotes – arrested 72 suspects and froze approximately 100 bank accounts.

“The network used money mules to open bank accounts worldwide and is now under investigation in over 40 countries for related money laundering activities. The suspects include citizens from Argentina, Colombia, Nigeria and Venezuela,” it said.

INTERPOL added that more than 160 fraud victims suffered significant financial losses, with some forced to sell their homes or take out large loans as a result.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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