The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine allows users of – among others – Facebook to commit ‘social network suicide’.
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Once again, I’m behind the curve – I just learned about the brilliant Web 2.0 Suicide Machine – which craftily deletes all your info across a number of Web 2.0 social networking platforms – a couple of months after FaceBook shut them down.
Perhaps the first instance of an internet suicide – a Web 0.1 Suicide – occurred in the online community The WELL (of which I was a member) back in the early 90s. A frequent contributor to a number of conversation groups on The WELL created a program that went through all the threads and deleted every one of his contributions. Then he killed himself.
It was a huge shock to the community. The fact that this man had chosen to eradicate his presence from The WELL before killing himself showed how deeply important The WELL was to him, which served to underscore the failure of that community to recognize and react to his distress.
Obviously, the motivations underlying the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine are very different from what moved this man to erase himself from The WELL’s community. The Suicide Machine seems to have driven by a concern for the false or shallow community created in these Web 2.0 social sites, and perhaps also by privacy concerns, which have become increasingly strident around FaceBook in particular.
Frankly, I think there are many people out there – myself included – who would be interested in a program that could do for the whole interweb what that man’s program did on The WELL: delete every single entry we’ve made. How many of us have twitted while drunk or ecstatic, only to regret it moments or days later, posted something indiscreet or overly-revealing on FaceBook, etc. Or simply are pissed about how much free content we gave to Yelp, FaceBook, Yahoo, etc., etc., without realizing what we were doing. More importantly, I think many of us have genuine and well-founded concerns about so much personal info ending up in the hands of data mining corporations and security agencies, profiling and tracking – and trying to monetize – our every move.