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Web 2.0 suicide

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Web 2.0 suicide is the deletion of information related to an individual's online persona as displayed on social networking sites, blogs and other web-based venues. People sometimes commit Web 2.0 suicide by deactivating their accounts and taking their blogs offline but there are also applications and services available to help with the process.

A free service called Web 2.0 Suicide Machine automates the process of deleting user info on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter. The creators, a Netherlands-based non-profit organization called WORM, estimate that it takes 52 minutes for their script to run, as compared to nine hours and thirty-five minutes for the average user to delete information manually.

Here's what the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine does on Facebook:

  • Logs into the user's account.
  • Changes the password and profile picture.
  • Arranges for the account to be inaccessible through public search.
  • Removes any email notifications.
  • Removes all user's friends.
  • Removes user from any groups.
  • Removes the user's wall posts
  • Joins the user to the "Social Network Suiciders" Facebook group.
  • Logs out.

The Suicide Machine website describes the technology:

The machine consists of a tweaked Linux server running Apache2 with Python modules installed. Selenium RC Control is used to automatically launch and kill browser sessions. This is all driven by a single Python/CGI script with some additional self-written Python libraries.

Each user can watch her suicide action in real-time via a VNC remote desktop session, displayed on our website via a Flash applet rendered live into the client's webbrowser. We are also running some customized bash scripts plus MySQL in the background for logging and debugging, jquery/PHP for the website and a modified version of the great FlashlightVNC application built in Flex.

See an introductory video:

This was last updated in August 2012

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