Committing social suicide….on the web

Have you heard of The Web2.0 suicide machine (W2SM) was launched in late December 2009, and uses a program that methodically deletes all user info from social networking sites. All you have to do is go to their homepage, and “commit”, which involves

The suicidemachine homepage encourages users to “liberate” themselves from SNSs:

Tired of your Social Network?

Liberate your newbie friends with a Web2.0 suicide! This machine lets you delete all your energy sucking social-networking profiles, kill your fake virtual friends, and completely do away with your Web2.0 alterego. The machine is just a metaphor for the website which moddr_ is hosting; the belly of the beast where the web2.0 suicide scripts are maintained. Our service currently runs with Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and LinkedIn! Commit NOW!

It targets Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn and Twitter, and even has a “memorial page” to ‘commemorate’ social network suiciders.

Earlier this year, Facebook blocked the site’s program, stating that it’s a violation of FB’s TOS. Read more here. But regardless of that, W2SM believes that what they’re doing is not unethical, as people should have the right to delete their online profiles and data whenever they want. From W2SM’s FAQ:

FAQ: Why do we think the web2.0 suicide machine is not unethical?

Everyone should have the right to disconnect. Seamless connectivity and rich social experience offered by web2.0 companies are the very antithesis of human freedom. Users are entraped in a high resolution panoptic prison without walls, accessible from anywhere in the world. We do have an healthy amount of paranoia to think that everyone should have the right to quit her 2.0-ified life by the help of automatized machines. Facebook and Co. are going to hold all your informations and pictures on their servers forever! We still hope that by removing your contact details and friend connections one-by-one, your data is being cached out from their backup servers. This can happen after days, weeks, months or even years. So merely deactivating the account is just not enough!

Another site offering a similar service is Delete Your Account, which emerged soon after W2SM. The site offers detailed information and direct links for users to delete their accounts from all of the major social networking, blogging, shopping, etc. sites and services across the web.

Is this a trend? I think one of the issues that bugs users is online privacy, which has been an issue for a long time now, particularly with FB, which keeps all your online data, e.g. pictures, even after you deactivate/delete your account. It seems like for many of us, it will be impossible to ‘disappear’ from the web completely, and it’s difficult keeping track of what happens to our personal info once we put them on the web. It’s so public, so open, and unless you read the TOS before signing on to SNSs, you won’t know that most of the info you publish online, such as on FB, becomes their property. This simply means that all your pictures, the things you say in your profile, everything, basically becomes FB property and they can do whatever they want with it and you can’t do anything about it. From FB’s Privacy Policy:

Deactivating or deleting your account. If you want to stop using your account you may deactivate it or delete it. When you deactivate an account, no user will be able to see it, but it will not be deleted. We save your profile information (friends, photos, interests, etc.) in case you later decide to reactivate your account….

Limitations on removal. Even after you remove information from your profile or delete your account, copies of that information may remain viewable elsewhere to the extent it has been shared with others, it was otherwise distributed pursuant to your privacy settings, or it was copied or stored by other users….Additionally, we may retain certain information to prevent identity theft and other misconduct even if deletion has been requested.

Be careful the next time you decide to post something up… especially when you’re using third-party applications.. you don’t know what information they get off you and what they’ll do with it.\

Related articles:

How to disappear from Facebook and Twitter

Web 2.0 Suicide Machine Offs Your Online Identity


2 Responses

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