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TechnologyCo-Founder of Liveleak.com...Ask Me Anything.

Oct 18th 2017 by Hayden_Hewitt • 22 Questions • 55 Points

<Edit>It's 12:30am here now so I'm going to hit my Kindle for a bit and turn in. Thank you so much for the cool questions, I didn't think I'd get a third as many as this and some of them were really great. If there are any more questions or responses I'll take a peek tomorrow. Cheers! I'm Hayden Hewitt and I'm a Co-Founder of LiveLeak.com and triggerwarning.tv. I was also part of the Ogrish.com team. I guess you can ask me anything!

https://twitter.com/HaydenHewitt/status/917343174678507520

Q:

what was the scariest legal problem liveleak had?

A:

Hello!

I'm not sure we've had any truly scary legal issues as a company but we did have a member who had a terrible time of it when the Australian authorities tried to railroad him and convict him of child abuse for sharing a video from a Russian circus family where the father was doing vaguely acrobatic tricks with his baby.

So, not terrifying for us but it was terrifying watching an innocent man try to battle himself out of that hole.


Q:

What is the most shocking thing you have seen on liveleak?

A:

Good question, and not an easy one to answer if I'm honest. The worst media I've been exposed to is media which never made it to the public site which was grossly illegal. It's only happened twice though.

For general stuff I can't lie, I wince like an old woman sucking a lemon when I see videos of broken bones. Goes right through me.


Q:

I wince like an old woman sucking a lemon when I see videos of broken bones.

Especially when there's sound... ugh.

A:

It's that dryish CLICK isn't it? Perhaps with a small amount of crunch thrown in...OH FFS! Now my head's full of that noise!


Q:

What content, if any, do you not allow on Liveleak for legal or personal reasons?

A:

We don't disallow anything for personal reasons. Legal reasons are pretty straightforward such as pornography, illegal porn, things of that nature.

We did decide not to show the glossy ISIS promo videos which caused a bit of a storm but for us as an organisation that didn't feel like exposing the truth (you see all that and more in battlefield footage anyway) more like acting as their PR company. We don't like being used by other organisations.


Q:

What do you say to someone that only knows Liveleak for being a website filled with videos of people dying and getting hurt?

A:

I'm not sure I say anything as a rule. People will always take from the site what they want to. If that's what they think it is then that's probably what they look for.


Q:

People leave really racist comments. Is this the worst of people or people being honest how they TrueType feel ?

A:

I truly believe there are several factors in this but the obvious ones would be that, yes, you have some hugely ignorant and racist people. We all know this. But you also have people who would never voice these opinions publically but the mask of anonymity the Internet provides allows them to vent in this manner.

This is worrying enough I suppose because the majority of these people wouldn't be wandering around in white power T shirts carrying Tiki torches. They're neighbours, people you see everyday e.t.c.

Then of course there are those who just like pretending they're a "badass" on the net.


Q:

I appreciate you responding to me. I like your site a lot it's funny and sad and sometimes informative. I just can't read the comments people leave because it's always racist homophobic or mysoginist. Not a judgement on you.

A:

My pleasure, thanks for taking the time to ask a question.


Q:

I was pretty active on the Ogrish forums back in the day. If you had to take a shot in the dark and guess, what percentage of the userbase for that site would you say could qualify as psychopaths? Met some very interesting people on there.

A:

Hello! I can't honestly say they're tremendously different to anyplace else (obviously not the Disney forum and the like). On the forums it never seemed to be about the media for the most part, I think the flame section and Terrorism/War/Politics were the most active.

I met quite a few folks off there in my time and none of them killed me even once. They didn't even offer to show me their genital collections!


Q:

Do you believe in "Free will" or do we just act in accordance to our biological abilities in response to outer influences in a deterministic fashion?

A:

I believe in the illusion of free will mostly because I'm married and my wife knows what's best for me.


Q:

Do you ever wonder if the images and videos on the site will either haunt you or desensitize you later on down the road?

A:

A few years of Ogrish and eleven years of LiveLeak should give me a reasonable idea. If anything I've found empathy increases with age (for me anyway) and becoming a father certainly changed the way I view things too.

You do form a type of distance from the media when you're in work mode but if I ever found myself not caring in the least I'd know it was time to move onto something else.


Q:

What kind of videos trigger more empathy in you than others?

A:

That's not something I could really quantify. Sometimes it's the overall topic, sometimes just a detail. I actually can't watch anything with kids being hurt or killed though. I simply can't.


Q:

I honestly don't know how you do it. I watch the videos from time to time out of a morbid curiosity, but I kinda take comfort in the fact that I can turn them off whenever I want and it's not "work" for me. Hope things keep staying well with you.

A:

I don't watch all of them, I don't even watch most of them. There aren't enough hours in the day or desire on my part. Sometimes I have to review them for the mods or simply because nobody else cares to but that's pretty rare.

Thanks for your good wishes, mate.


Q:

Top comments can be better than the videos, but it sucks to see them removed.

A:

Censorship sucks no matter what. None of us want to have to remove comments or ban people e.t.c. but we have to look after the site.


Q:

What was your original goal and purpose for the website? Was it always meant to be a fairly unrestricted video streaming service or was it something else at one point, much like YouTube used to be a dating site)?

Also do you personally enjoy the gore content that's frequently uploaded to LiveLeak and why?

A:

Our goals were quite varied. It was always meant to be a video sharing site which was "reality focussed" so whilst not as full on as Ogrish for example it wouldn't shy away. We've still not reached all of our ambitions for the site but it's only been 11 years so there's no rush.

I can honestly say I've never enjoyed a gore video though I must also admit I quite enjoy watching matadors being gored.


Q:

Do you think heavily graphic/ogrish videos online will become illegal in the near future or ever?

A:

Illegal? Possibly though that would be awfully difficult to police. I think it's more likely the loss of net neutrality will enable anything subversive to essentially be forced off the net.


Q:

Are you currently hiring?

A:

Sorry, we aren't. Plus our initiation ceremonies can be pretty gruelling but we find people can still function perfectly well without a couple of fingers and a pentagram carved in their forehead.


Q:

Amazing haha

Thanks anyway man, I wish you all the best

A:

Thank you, same to you mate!


Q:

Have you seen all of Preacher yet??

A:

I have!


Q:

best Hitler ever

A:

Not a combination of words we see too often.


Q:

Can you please bring back the option to down vote comments in liveleak?! As you can see it's still done here on reddit and creates value to people's post.

A:

There are no plans to at the moment due to abuse and drama, which has lessened considerably since their removal.


Q:

what do you think will happen if Liveleak unexpectedly went back to its Ogrish roots?

A:

Heh, well that's a LONG time to roll back. The whole "gore" site thing (although Ogrish was far more serious and without editorial influence / porn videos than modern alternatives) was something we felt we'd taken as far as it could go. LiveLeak was never meant to be a new Ogrish, for us that adventure ended in 2006.


Q:

How did the idea of Liveleak come up? What were you doing before you decided to take on this project?

A:

A good portion of the group were already running Ogrish.com and when it became clear we wanted to move on we basically sat with one simple question "What would WE like to see in a website" and built the idea up from there.