Deleting your Facebook profile is easy. Just follow the link and submit your request. But merely disappearing from Facebook might not be cathartic enough for people who've grown to despise social networking. For them, there was the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine, a service that didn't just delete Facebook profiles, it actually disemboweled them.
The operators of SuicideMachine.org claim (via the L.A. Times) that Facebook is blocking the Web app's IP address, making it impossible for users to activate the service. Activating the Suicide Machine unleashes a script that systematically removes friends, groups and, coming soon, wall posts. The automated process transpired before users' eyes. Profiles were then added to one last group, the "Social Network Suiciders," and, lest users reconsider signing back on to your Facebook account, the passwords were changed, leaving accounts inaccessible.
Suicide Machine says one user's profile, with 1,000 friends, took less than an hour to commit automatic suicide, when it would have taken over 9 hours manually.
Facebook reportedly blocked Suicide Machine's IP address because it "has been associated with abusive behavior," but not before 500 people successfully used the service, removing more than 50,000 friends from their profiles.
Suicide Machine's operators are trying to devise a workaround. The site is seeking supporters who know how to set up a proxy server. Meanwhile, jaded social networkers can still cut themselves out of Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn. To date, 203,736 Tweets have been deleted using the service.
I wouldn't be surprised if a couple people used the Suicide Machine maliciously, for instance by killing the profiles of ex-boyfriends or girlfriends. Would that count as Facebook murder?