Omegle, a popular online chat room website, has made a political statement against China amid the on-going political unrest that is currently happening in the regain over Beijing’s insistence of unification with Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. The statement is made through a banner in its website logo with a provocative statement against China’s president, Xi Jinping.
When users open the website through its URL, omegle.com, a banner will be shown bearing the flag of the United States with the words “Public Service Announcement: Xi Jinping sure looks like Winnie the Pooh.” It also bears the official cry of supporters of the Hong Kong protesters below the image, which says, “Stand with Hong Kong.”
The tirades made by Omegle do not end on its home page. After users match with another user, the site has replaced the usually message it prompts every time a match is made from “You’re now chatting with a random stranger. Say Hi!” to “You are now chatting with a random stranger. Say Xi = Pooh!”
Omegle is a popular online website where people can match with other anonymous users without logging in. The users are either matched through the tags they encoded to the site when they enter the chat room or in the absence of the tags, and when no one else matches in the given tag, the user will be matched to a completely random user. The site was first developed by Leif K-Brooks and was first launched on March 5, 2009.
The Vermont-raised developer has become one of Forbes Under 30 list for his contributions in the field of communication app development. K-Brooks, together with another developer, co-founded a start-up, Octane AI, which powers millions of automated conversations for brands and celebrities.
What started as a text chat platform at first, Omegle has grown to have developed a camera-to-camera chatting feature. It now also has other features such as university chat, which links “strangers” to other strangers from the same university they attend. A month after its launch in 2009, Omegle has garnered more than 150,000 page views every day. There are currently millions of “strangers” around the world that are using the platform to meet other people.
The move of Omegle to lambast China’s most influential leader on its own website comes after many brands and organizations went under fire for yielding to Beijing’s demands. This week, Apple was criticized for silently removing the Taiwan flag in the roster of emojis in its iPhones as per China’s request. They have also been called out for taking out a Hong Kong protest map app from the App Store. The U.S. company has later reversed its decision after its hit by a backlash and reinstated the app back to the App store.
Furthermore, the NBA is also slammed online after it rebuked a Rockets manager for his tweets that support the Hong Kong protest. The elite sporting organization said that it was “extremely disappointed with Morey’s inappropriate comments.” Similar to Apple, the association also backpedaled after receiving backlash for its statements and lack of support to protesters.