Tens of thousands of people around the world are flocking back to Chatroulette to seek social interaction while stuck at home under shelter-in-place orders, according to the site’s creator. Usage has more than doubled, rising from 50,000 users per day to 120,000 since the beginning of the year, Andrey Ternovskiy told The Daily Beast. General internet usage has likewise skyrocketed during widespread coronavirus lockdowns. The site, which pairs random people for a video call, debuted in 2009 and enjoyed immediate popularity, drawing more than one million users per day in its first year, Ternovskiy said. Plagued by inappropriate content and waning novelty, though, Chatroulette’s traffic declined each year in the ensuing decade.
“Our numbers are progressively increasing as more people have to stay in place. There are some people who naturally stay at home, and now everybody has to. They’re rediscovering Chatroulette,” Ternovskiy said. “I didn’t think usage would double. I didn’t expect it. Soon it’ll be tripled.” Ternovskiy said the challenge now will be to retain the new users. He says the site has put moderation rules in place, a mix of algorithmic and human intervention, to sequester bad actors on the site.