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Facebook Battles Virtual Identity Suicide Attempts

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith

If you are tired of living in the social media world with too many followers and friends - who really aren't friends - then several new services can help you end it all!  But Facebook is "coming to the rescue" to stop these services from assisting you in your virtual identity suicide.

Seppukoo launched a service that is a unique subversion of Facebook in which they offer users the ability to complete the ritual destruction of their virtual identities complete with a customizable memorial page. The service is named after the seppuku ritual suicide practiced by ancient Japanese samurai warriors, the site draws a parallel between restoring a samurai’s honor and the “liberation of the digital body.”  There’s even a leaderboard showing off the top users, whose scores are determined by how many others in their network decide to Seppukoo.

Now, the reality is that you actually can't complete your virtual identity with Facebook because Facebook only allows for account deactivatation. This means that any information regarding you and your friends, will be strictly preserved by Facebook in order to keep your virtual life protected alive for the eternity. So you won't even need any superpowers to restore your virtual life after death: just a simple login, and your life will be completely restore back.

However, the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine takes it the full distance. Just put in your credentials for Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or LinkedIn and it will delete all your friends and messages, and change your username, photo and password so you cannot log back in. On Facebook, for instance, it removes all your friends one by one, removes your groups and joins you to its own Social Network Suiciders group where you can leave some last words. 

Evidently, Facebook does not see the humor here and doesn’t want these services to exist at all, claiming that it violates Facebook's statement of rights and responsibilities.  Facebook has sent a cease and desist letter to Seppukoo, asking the program to stop breaching terms of service and there is most likely another lawyer working on the letter to Web 2.0 Suicide Machine.  In the Sepppukoo letter, Facebook states that they will "take whatever measures it believes are necessary to enforce its rights, maintain the quality of its site, and protect its users’ privacy and information.”

So far the folks behind Seppukoo — an imaginary Italian art group Les Liens Invisibles — don’t plan to back down. They’ve replied to Facebook claiming that they don’t plan to shut down the service and that Seppukoo is solely for artistic purposes. While it’s understandable that Facebook doesn’t want users “ritually killing” their accounts, it seems likely that by fighting this gag - Facebook will only make even more people aware of these services.

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