05 January 2010

Facebook Blocks Profile Removal Service

BBC News

Social network giant Facebook has blocked a website from accessing people's profiles in order to delete their online presence.

The site, Web 2.0 Suicide Machine, offers to remove users from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Myspace.

It does not delete their accounts but changes the passwords and removes "friend" connections.

Seppukoo.com, which offers a similar service, was issued with a "cease and desist" letter by Facebook in 2009.

Netherlands-based moddr, behind Web 2.0 Suicide Machine, says it believes that "everyone should have the right to disconnect".

However Facebook says that by collecting login credentials, the site violates its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR).

"Facebook provides the ability for people who no longer want to use the site to either deactivate their account or delete it completely," the company said. "We're currently investigating and considering whether to take further action."

Web 2.0 Suicide Machine claims that it only stores the name, profile picture and "last words" of its clients, who can choose to watch their friend/follower connections disappear in real time as their profiles unlink from others.

"Seamless connectivity and rich social experience offered by web 2.0 companies are the very antithesis of human freedom," says a statement on its website.

The machine operates on an adjusted Linux server which runs open source software Apache 2.

Seppukoo.com, which offers to remove people from Facebook, received a letter from the social network site's lawyers in December 2009.

Once they have deleted their friends Seppukoo clients can choose an image instead of their profile picture to remain as a "memorial" .

The site is run by a group called Les Liens Invisibles, and describes itself as an artistic project. The name Seppukoo is taken from a Japanese ritual form of suicide known as Seppuku.

In November 2009 the group orchestrated the "virtual suicide" of a group of fictitious Facebook profiles set up in the names of deceased well-known figures including Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison and Virginia Woolf.

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