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Thousands of Australians are video chatting to random strangers around the world via a new web site that has been described as “frightening” because of its no-holds-barred explicit live content and video sex acts by strangers at the other end of a web camera.The site Chatroulette was so secretive that no one knew how it started or who owned it until 13 February, when 17-year-old Russian schoolboy Andrey Ternovskiy confirmed that he was behind the site to The New York Times. The site is hosted in Frankfurt, Germany.

To use Chatroulette, all a visitor has to do is log onto the site and hit play. Live videos of individuals appear, with users given the option of chatting via one-on-one text, webcam and microphone-based chat. There are no charges.

Information about the site, which operates without any regulation, is spreading via Australian chat and forum sites.

Chatroulette, which was launched in November 2009, has grown in popularity, with European media now raising concerns about the site with visitors witnessing lesbian acts, masturbation by both men and women, couples having sex.

When users visit the site and switch on their webcams, they are suddenly connected to another, randomly chosen person who is doing precisely the same thing somewhere else in the world.

The fact that the site gives users a live glimpse into other peoples activities is the reason for its success, said one visitor who we made contact with. 

Ironically, the site claims that it “does not tolerate broadcasting obscene, offending, pornographic material” and offers users the option to report unsuitable content.

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