Type of site
Video sharing
Founded31 October 2006; 17 years ago (2006-10-31)[1][2]
Dissolved5 May 2021; 2 years ago (2021-05-05)[3]
United Kingdom[4]
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Various co-founders including Hayden Hewitt[2]
(redirects to

LiveLeak was a British video sharing website, headquartered in London. The site was founded on 31 October 2006, in part by the team behind the shock site which closed on the same day.[2] LiveLeak aimed to freely host real footage of politics, war, and many other world events and to encourage and foster a culture of citizen journalism.[5][6]

It was shut down on 5 May 2021. The URL was changed to redirect to ItemFix, another video sharing site.[3][7]


Cockpit video of a Hellfire missile being fired at targets in Afghanistan

LiveLeak first came to prominence in 2007 following the filming and leaking of the execution of Saddam Hussein. This, among others, earned the site a mention from White House Press Secretary Tony Snow as the likely place to see updates or stories from active American soldiers.[8]

On 30 July 2007, the BBC programme Panorama broadcast a show on how street violence between children as young as 11 was being posted on websites including LiveLeak.[9] When Panorama queried the "extremely violent videos" that were posted to LiveLeak's website, co-founder Hayden Hewitt refused to take them all down, stating: "Look, all this is happening, this is real life, and this is going on, and we're going to have to show it."[10]

LiveLeak was again in the spotlight in March, 2008, when it was hosting the anti-Quran film Fitna made by Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Fitna was taken down for 48 hours as personal threats against Hewitt, the only public representative of the site, peaked. The re-post date was 30 March 2008 after arrangements for Hewitt's family and safety had been improved. However, the video was soon removed again over a copyright claim.[2]

On 24 March 2014, LiveLeak and Ruptly announced a content partnership.[11]

On 19 August 2014, a video depicting the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley was posted by Islamic State terrorists on YouTube and other sites. When it was reported on by U.S. News & World Report, YouTube and Facebook deleted all related footage and implemented bans, demand increased for LiveLeak's footage as they currently allowed this.[12] In response to the James Foley video, Hewitt posted that LiveLeak's content policy had been updated to ban all beheading footage produced by the Islamic State.[13][2] The website continued to host the original video that depicted the aftermath of Foley's execution for its historical relevance as it did not depict the beheading itself.

On 30 March 2019, Australian telecom Telstra denied millions of Australians access to websites 4chan, 8chan, Voat, Zero Hedge, and LiveLeak as a response to the video of the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand spreading.[14] LiveLeak responded that they didn't carry the video and were removing uploads of it. The ISPs in question didn't respond.

At the beginning of June 2020, LiveLeak temporarily disabled users' ability to log into the website, and it also only suggested videos from other sources, such as YouTube or Dailymotion. After 14 June 2020, it became possible to log into the website and view LiveLeak's hosted videos again. Those who did not want to log in to LiveLeak would only see suggested videos that were hosted by YouTube, Dailymotion and VK.[citation needed]

On 5 May 2021, the LiveLeak website shut down, with site visitors being redirected to, a website that bans users from uploading media containing “excessive violence or gory content”.[3][7]

See also


  1. ^ Roversi, Antonio (2008). Hate on the Net: Extremist Sites, Neo-fascism On-line, Electronic Jihad. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7546-7214-2. LCCN 2007034132. Retrieved 21 August 2017. The website [] was incorporated into on 31 October 2006
  2. ^ a b c d e Cook, James (7 November 2014). "Q&A: The Man Behind LiveLeak, The Islamic State's Favourite Site For Beheading Videos". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Vincent, James (7 May 2021). "LiveLeak, the internet's font of gore and violence, has shut down". The Verge. Archived from the original on 15 May 2021. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Company Overview of LiveLeak". Bloomberg. S&P Global Market Intelligence. Archived from the original on 21 August 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Interview with Hayden Hewitt, co-Founder of". The New Freedom. 19 May 2008. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
  6. ^ Crichton, Torcuil (13 January 2007). "Blair and Bush's latest weapon of war: YouTube". Sunday Herald. Archived from the original on 12 February 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2007.
  7. ^ a b Yeo, Amanda (6 May 2021). "LiveLeak is finally dead after 15 years". Mashable. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  8. ^ Cashmore, Pete (14 January 2007). "LiveLeak Making Headlines, Enemies". Mashable. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  9. ^ "Panorama: Children's Fight Club" (Press release). BBC. 29 July 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  10. ^ "Web child fight videos criticised". BBC News. 29 July 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  11. ^ "Ruptly Video News Agency and announce content partnership" (Press release). Ruptly. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2022 – via PRLog.
  12. ^ Nelson, Steven (22 August 2014). "LiveLeak Bans Future Islamic State Beheading Videos". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on 24 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  13. ^ "Statement From Liveleak Regarding IS Beheading Videos which might be upcoming". LiveLeak. 21 August 2014. Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  14. ^ Brennan, David (19 March 2019). "4chan, 8chan, LiveLeak and Others Blocked by Australian Internet Companies over Mosque Massacre Video". Newsweek. Retrieved 26 April 2022.