The dark net is a violent and largely unregulated corner of the internet, home to all types of illicit activities. One of the most infamous of these activities is known as a Red Room, a site designed to facilitate the live torture, murder, and sexual assault of its victims, which are usually women, for the amusement of viewers. Red Rooms first surfaced around the early 2000s, when online forums such as 4chan and 8chan began to gain traction. They quickly moved to the dark net, a space that offers a higher degree of anonymity and security to its users.
How it works
The concept behind Red Rooms is fairly straightforward. The site, which is usually hosted on the dark net, provides viewers with a list of victims that can be chosen for live torture sessions. The viewer pays a fee, sometimes using cryptocurrency, to gain access to the room and watch the victim being subjected to physical or psychological torture. In some cases, the victims are murdered live on camera. The payment entitles the viewer to watch the session for a certain duration, after which time the room is closed.
The Red Room concept is rooted in sadomasochism and fetishism, and the act of torturing another human being, whether or not it is consensual, for entertainment is an illegal and highly unethical practice. Consequently, Red Rooms are often used by criminals as a means to extort money from their victims, with the promise of sending a snuff video of a live murder to a friend or family member if they don’t pay up. This has led many governments to take a hard stance on Red Rooms, and those caught running or using one can face a lengthy prison term.
Despite their illegality, Red Rooms have gained a certain level of notoriety and mystique over the years, thanks to sensational media reports and popular culture references. While it is likely that such rooms exist, however, it is also likely that the majority of reports are either exaggerated or entirely fabricated, as no concrete evidence on this phenomenon has ever been found. Even so, the myth continues to persist, owing in part to the anonymity of the dark net and its bustling underground economy.