Virtual Suicide – Are You Game?

Every one of us has fallen deep in the abyss of Web 2.0 where social networking sites are predominantly a large part of our lives. I admit I spend at least 5 to 7 hours on Facebook each day (a lot lesser when I don’t have internet access here on exchange), looking through facebook updates, wall posts, photos and videos from friends.
It has come to my utmost interest when I stumbled upon this website – Web 2.0 Suicide Machine.

The thought that has never ever crossed my mind was presented straight in my face – Kill my virtual self, never be online on Facebook again.

This seemingly cute website with a cute name Web 2.0 Suicide Machine means business when it says remove yourself from your social networks. You really must mean it because you can’t undo the process nor can you stop it when you’ve started it. What it does is log in your account using your login credentials, change your profile picture and your ‘log-in’ so you can never ever access your account again, removes your wall posts, unfriends your friends, removes your email notifications in Facebook or removes all your tweets, the people you follow or people following you on Twitter.

Naturally, feeling threatened by its enemy ‘Web 2.0 Suicide Machine’, Facebook unleashes lawyers on Web 2.0 Suicide Machine. The battle begins with Facebook demanding Suicide Machine to cease its activity through a legal letter and thereafter, proceeds to restrict the access of Suicide Machine through an IP block. Suicide Machine is currently seeking means to circumvent this block to allow its service to run normally.

Graham Cluley’s post on Sophos suggests the downsides of such a service Suicide Machine offers such as the possibility of stealing your login credentials and using them without authorization on other websites or using your social network accounts to spam malicious links and messages to others online.

Rafe Needleman, on his blog, shares the same opinion that it may be a wiser idea to steer clear of these websites. Furthermore, he is unconvinced that a third party website will actually allow users to remove their data more effectively than the host’s own site tools for instance.

While the idea of killing myself (I mean my virtual self) seems pretty interesting, it would take me a long while of consideration weighing the pros and cons and hell lot of courage to click the start button. I admit. I am one who’s surrendered to the world of social networks and Web 2.0.

With the exponential growth of social networks like Facebook, for example, having more than 600 million users, it becomes natural for everyone to follow suit and develop for themselves a virtual identity – one that will be online; one that can allow others to view their profile on the webs.

The author of “Should Virtual Suicide be outlawed” argues that when societal norm is such that everyone is pressured to have a virtual self and virtual identity becomes so important and relevant; will virtual suicide be illegal then? Till then, websites like Suicide Machine may be in legal troubles for mass encouraging the online community to kill their virtual identity. In fact, this cult-like gesture may in future be condemned by society.

I understand that the rise of such websites like Suicide Machine may be due to the growing concern of our obsession and infatuation with online tools and social networking sites and thus, neglecting our real self, our real family, our real friends and our real neighbors. They are offering a channel for us to reverse our life back to where it was possible for us to be virtually offline.

For me, I am into social networking, but I’m not to the extent of dissociated from my real family and friends. Well, I am just going to stick around in this Web 2.0 party and enjoy longer.

What about you? Are you game for a virtual suicide?

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3 Responses to Virtual Suicide – Are You Game?

  1. Bruce Spear says:

    Fabulous! Well-researched, a story well-told, and with appropriate links. Good work!

  2. Iris Ng says:

    Hey fanny, this was an awesome read! This concept of virtual suicide seems weirdly appealing in our techonoldy-infused world. I admit that I, like you, wouldnt be “game” enough to kill myself (virtually and physically :P) , but toying around with this idea and exploring the concept would be fun.

    You mentioned one argument where virtual identity is so important that virtual suicide may become illegal in future. In my opinion, physical suicide would have to be illegal first, for that to happen. (which is, technically not very feasible because the person wouldnt be alive to receive his/her sentence) Why would it be illegal to kill your virtual self, when your virtual identity is a choice that you made for yourself?

    In all, i really enjoyed this article and the arguments that came up! keep your writing juices flowing! :))

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