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LiveLeak shuts down after 15 years

2006-2021
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Video-sharing platform LiveLeak, popular for hosting footage on politics, war, and other newsworthy events around the globe that would be censored on other platforms such as YouTube, has shut down.

LiveLeak was founded in 2006 by Hayden Hewitt, from Manchester, England. It rose to prominence in 2007 for hosting footage of the execution of Saddam Hussein.

The video-sharing platform also hosted the 2008 Quran-critical film Fitna, created by Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician.

LiveLeak became popular for its relatively reduced censorship of content and its higher regard for freedom of expression than mainstream platforms.

LiveLeak’s lack of moderation of content and push to promote freedom of expression has long caused it to make enemies. For instance, in 2019, Australian telecom Telstra blocked access to LiveLeak for allowing sharing of the video of the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand.

Since Wednesday, LiveLeak has gone offline. Visiting the website automatically redirects to a new website, ItemFix, which has a notice reading:

“Dear LiveLeak Visitor – Welcome to ItemFix. Click here to find out how you got here.”

The link opens a page containing a message from Hewitt.

“Nothing lasts forever though and – as we did all those years ago – we felt LiveLeak had achieved all that it could and it was time for us to try something new and exciting,” the message reads in part.

The message says the team behind LiveLeak is working on the new project, ItemFix.

“I hope some of you will enjoy ItemFix and find it useful and entertaining. It’s something completely different, completely fresh, and something we feel energized about tackling and whilst I know many of you will be upset, possibly angry, about our decision I do hope you also understand our reasons and appreciate that, alongside you, we have walked together through some interesting times and some crazy ones. Sometimes it’s just the right time to chart a new path,” Hewitt wrote.

The full letter reads:

“Dear LiveLeakers,

I’m sure you’re wondering what’s going on right now so it’s only right and proper that you get a full explanation.

Fifteen years ago we felt the project we were working on had peaked and it was time to move on, LiveLeak was born. Although it’s an overused analogy the last fifteen years have been an insane rollercoaster for all involved. Highs, lows, and some rather worrying bits where it felt like we were upside down. The thing is, it’s never been less than exhilarating, challenging and something we were all fully committed to. Nothing lasts forever though and – as we did all those years ago – we felt LiveLeak had achieved all that it could and it was time for us to try something new and exciting.

The world has changed a lot over these last few years, the Internet alongside it, and we as people. I’m sat here now writing this with a mixture of sorrow because LL has been not just a website or business but a way of life for me and many of the guys but also genuine excitement at what’s next.

I hope some of you will enjoy ItemFix and find it useful and entertaining. It’s something completely different, completely fresh, and something we feel energized about tackling and whilst I know many of you will be upset, possibly angry, about our decision I do hope you also understand our reasons and appreciate that, alongside you, we have walked together through some interesting times and some crazy ones. Sometimes it’s just the right time to chart a new path.

I’d like to wrap this up with thanks. Thank you to all the team past and present, the “inner circle,” the admins, the mods, the coders. You guys helped make the impossible possible for so long it’s unreal. If people truly knew what you’d put into this…they probably wouldn’t believe it. But I know and I can’t thank you enough.

To the members, the uploaders, the casual visitors, the trolls and the occasionally demented people who have been with us. You have been our constant companions and although we probably didn’t get to communicate too often you’re appreciated more than you realize. On a personal level you have fascinated and amused me with your content.

Lastly, to those no longer with us. I still remember you.

On behalf of the LiveLeak team and myself

Cheers,

Hayden”

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