Committing Facebook Suicide...
For those individuals out there fed up with mindless status updates from "friends" who you barely know, for those who don't want their employers seeing family photos, or for those who are scared to death of new privacy policies that allow your favorite social networking site to share your status updates and photos with Google, there is a solution... suicide.
Digital suicide, that is. As RWW reports, several new websites have emerged that allow a person to easily kill their presence on social networking sites. Apparently, this is a major headache to accomplish (who knew?).
Websites like Seppukoo.com and the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine take your login credentials and post a tombstone-like RIP memorial on your former page. Also, by alerting everyone in your social network automatically of your suicide, they claim to cut the suicidal process down from over 9 hours (to do it manually) to just under one.
There are so many interesting (and ridiculous) elements to this story like why Facebook feels compelled to issue cease and desist letters. But what catches my eye is how committing digital suicide is a type of online protest action. There has been a well-chronicled revolt brewing over, first, the inherent lack of privacy on social networking sites and, second, recent changes to Facebook's privacy policies, in particular, which open people's personal info, statuses, and photos to search engines like Google by default. Some very prominent tech gurus have committed Facebook suicide specifically as a protest to these policies.
These suicides ought to be considered protest actions for other reasons as well. Anyone can simply and quietly delete their accounts if they no longer want to participate on these sites. But that's not what's happening. The suicides, by including a public RIP memorial and by making sure to inform all of one's friends about their decision, are intentionally designed to draw attention to the reasons behind the suicide, and not merely the suicide itself. Finally, the suicides aren't permanent. After you've killed yourself and told everybody why, you can reinstate your account with a few clicks.
Anyway, all this talk of people committing Facebook suicide en masse conjures up images of Jonestown and other disturbing mass real-world suicides. Creepy.