Do Online 'Red Rooms' Really Exist?

Red rooms are said to be some of the most horrific places on the deep web. In a red room, you can reportedly view a livestream of someone being tormented and murdered, and some have even claimed that viewers can participate in these livestreams by exchanging cryptocurrencies for specific acts of violence. These two elements distinguish a "true" red room from snuff films that are sometimes uploaded to the deep web.

Despite all the gossip surrounding them, one crucial question remains: Are red rooms real or are they merely an urban legend? In this list, we'll explore the history of red rooms and whether or not they actually exist.

Photo: Rec / Filmax

  • Red Rooms Are Said To Exist Somewhere On The Deep Web

    According to IT experts that frequent the deep web, if red rooms do exist, they would be so heavily guarded that only a select few people would be able to access them. Numerous fake red rooms have been reported, as have law enforcement sting operations across the web, making it even more difficult to find a "real" red room.

    Additionally, anyone performing illegal activities in one of these rooms would have a hard time advertising it without alerting the authorities to their dealings. Likewise, anyone seeking illegal activity is going to be wary of spending massive amounts of money on a product they cannot verify.

  • Streaming Live Videos On The Deep Web Is Reportedly Very Difficult

    The dark web is a small subset of the deep web and is largely accessed through the network Tor, also known as "The Onion Routing" project. One of the chief arguments against the existence of red rooms is the claim that Tor is unable to stream live video.

    Tor is not the only way to access the deep web, but using any other network makes red room access even more difficult. This is why some people claim that if red rooms do exist, they wouldn't be found on the deep web at all; instead, they would be hidden in heavily restricted, secure areas of the surface web.

  • Some Claim Red Rooms Exist On The Surface Web But Are Only Accessible Via The Dark Web

    One common claim made by those who frequent the dark web is that red rooms do exist, but the streaming itself occurs on the surface web (or the "clear web") to get around streaming issues that reportedly occur when using Tor.

    To access one of these livestreams, viewers allegedly need to develop a relationship with the group who created the red room. Building this relationship may require multiple steps, starting with an internet relay chat and a connection to someone who already has the red room link. Once there, viewers must make an account and get an invite to the livestream.

  • Some Say The Existence Of The Dark Web Is Exaggerated

    According to Wired, many claims about the dark web are overblown. The dark web accounts for only a tiny fraction of the internet - between 7,000 and 30,000 hidden Tor sites by most recent estimates. That adds up to only about 0.03% of the internet's total content.

    Those who use the dark web are also few. Of the nearly two million daily Tor users, only 1.5% of the overall traffic has to do with any sort of hidden site. The rest of the users are just protecting their regular browsing history.

  • People Have Been Arrested For Streaming Their Crimes Online

    Some disturbing reports claim that some dark web users livestream murders; however, these livestreams aren't technically considered red rooms but rather spaces where criminals willingly make their crimes public. That said, this does indicate that red room technology could exist.

    One example of such a crime involved two men in Slovenia who fatally beat a third man while streaming on Facebook Live. The perpetrators were promptly arrested for their crime. Unfortunately, this incident of violence committed over Facebook Live is hardly isolated. Even so, these criminal acts are distinctly different from the alleged business model of red rooms.

  • There Are Also 'Animal Crush' Sites Similar To Red Rooms

    The FBI reportedly shut down a site called Cruel Onion that bore striking similarities to hypothetical red rooms. This and similar sites focus on cruelty to small animals, and viewers can allegedly make requests for specific acts via cryptocurrency.

    In 2016, Brent Justice was convicted for making such videos and was sentenced to 50 years in prison. His accomplice, Ashley Nicole Richards, pled guilty and received a reduced sentence. They were the first to be convicted of this type of crime under the US Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010. The two reportedly had a rather active client base and would often take requests.