Is It Illegal To Commit Seppukoo On Your Facebook Account?

from the the-law-gets-fun dept

Facebook is known for not looking kindly (and for going legal) on sites that attempt to do pass through logins to do something with a Facebook account. I can understand why they don't like these other services, but it's difficult to see what's illegal about them. The next potential legal battle apparently may be between Facebook and Seppukoo, a fun site that offers users an amusing way to close and delete their Facebook account by having it commit a virtual suicide:
The site, Seppukoo.com, offers ritual suicide for Facebook users' virtual profiles by deactivating your account. And it doesn't stop there. If you're willing to end it all, the site will feature a RIP memorial page on its site and sends the page to all your Facebook friends.
Fun stuff. Except, of course, Facebook doesn't want people deleting their accounts, and so it blocked Seppukoo. Now, the battle of words is heating up and lawyers are getting involved. Facebook has issued a cease and desist, insinuating that it will take Seppukoo to court for violating Facebook's "rights and responsibilities" if it doesn't stop offering the service. I'm still quite confused as to what legal leg Facebook has to stand on here. I can understand why it doesn't like what Seppukoo is doing... but that doesn't mean it's illegal.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    wirtes (profile), Dec 30th, 2009 @ 5:26am

    Streisand Effect?

    I'd love to see Seppukoo's Google Analytics since the LA Times picked up the story...

     

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  2.  
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    Danny, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 5:59am

    Why is it illegal?

    Perhaps Facebook is trying to go with the argument that Seppukoo.com is offering people ways to alter their Facebook accounts through some service other than Facebook? Like going to the Lord of Rings Online site to delete your World of Warcraft characters?

    Just guessing...

     

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  3.  
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    Pirate, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 6:00am

    Google Trends

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=Seppukoo

    There you go, interesting.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 6:03am

    And I thought when I was clicking on this headline I was going to read about some person's cadaver being issued a fine for commits ritual suicide and documenting the experience on facebook. But instead I find an article of something only slightly more absurd and somehow seemingly similar in morbidness.

     

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  5.  
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    WammerJammer (profile), Dec 30th, 2009 @ 6:18am

    Facebooks demise

    Just because of the amount of Capccha's I have been forced to fill out on stupid Facebook, I am going to Seppukoo right now and gloriously delete myself.

     

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  6.  
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    jhn, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    Seppukoo is under no obligation to honor any of Facebook's little statements. They are not in any kind of contractual agreement with them. Simply by using user-supplied login info, a third party does not become magically bound to whatever nonsense Facebooks says goes, and Facebook's statement that "By using or accessing Facebook, you agree to this Statement." is nonsense. (Incidentally, I believe it should constitute legal malpractice to make facially bogus statements like this.)

     

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  7.  
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    jhn, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 6:26am

    Incidentally, it is possible to *permanently* delete your Facebook account with no possibility of reactivation. This is something that Facebook really keeps hidden.

    http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account

     

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  8.  
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    NullOp, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 6:28am

    Illegal...

    Illegal....HA! These social site exist only to gather stats for later sale. Y'all ain't figured that out yet? They don't give a remote red-rats-ass about anything but the sale of info out the back door!

     

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  9.  
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    Tyanna, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 7:22am

    Re:

    They still keep all your information. Be aware of that. anything you do on facebook they keep...even if you've deleted your account.

     

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  10.  
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    can we kill facebook yet?, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 7:27am

    can't wait for facebook to faceplant it self

    useless place

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 7:30am

    Re: Illegal...

    Source?

    Evidence?

    ...didn't think so.

    Nice hat.

     

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  12.  
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    Doh, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re: Illegal...

    Wait ... so they do not sell your info ?
    - Sources?
    - Evidence?
    Didn't think so

    Try Google, terms: facebook privacy "third party"
    - here is one of over 11 million returns

    http://www.newsfactor.com/story.xhtml?story_id=70684
    Specifically, EPIC asked the FTC to require Facebook to restore the previous privacy settings, allowing users to control disclosure of personal information and to fully opt out of revealing information to third-party developers Relevant Products/Services. EPIC also demanded that Facebook make its data Relevant Products/Services-collection practices clearer and easier to understand.

    See the reference to "third party" ?

     

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  13.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Dec 30th, 2009 @ 8:29am

    Facebook's real fear

    What people are missing in this is that Facebook (and other social networking sites) fear an exodus of users. When you remove the social from social networking, the network fails.

    Example, in the last little while a number of celebs have very publicly killed their Twitter accounts, some of them with tens of thousands of followers. Tnis is potentially the start of a movement to make Twitter somewhat less cool.

    What Seppukoo does is allow a user not only to stop using social networking, but to very publicly announce that departure in a manner that uses Facebook's own social networking tools to distribute the announcement. That has the potential to start a trend that would end up killing facebook.

    The legal action is a panic response by people who probably understand very well that social networking sites are all pretty much doomed to fail at some point, they just don't want it to fail now.

     

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  14.  
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    Wolfy, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 8:54am

    Re: Facebook's real fear

    Which "celebs" have killed their "Twitter" accounts? When was this? I don't recall hearing or reading about it. If true, more power to 'em. I've always felt "Twitter" to be sort of inane, but events in Iran have proven that wrong.

     

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  15.  
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    Derek Bredensteiner (profile), Dec 30th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Re: Streisand Effect?

    Agreed.

    Still, Google trends is an awesome indicator/proof of the Streisand effect, and I have little doubt this one will be one more notch in that belt when the stats rotate into there.

     

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  16.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Dec 30th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Facebook's real fear

    A wide variety of celebs have done so, from (Techdirt god) Trent Reznor to Miley Cyrus.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2009/07/20/trent-reznor-ends-twitter-legac y-by-deleting-account/

    Just as it doesn't take much to make social networking sights shoot up, it doesn't take much to turn them into the next Geocities or MySpace.

     

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  17.  
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    FYI, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 9:06am

    Re: Facebook's real fear

    Twitter does not revolve around celebrities nor does it need them. In fact it is celebrities that benefit from Twitter. Any celebrities that decide to "drop off" the Twitterscape (although none of the celebrities I know about have, but there are thousands of "celebrities" out there) are only cutting themselves off from free self promotion and an tool for connecting with those who celebrate them.

     

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  18.  
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    taoareyou, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Facebook's real fear

    I just went to nin.com and guess what I found? A Twitter feed that is prefaced by "posted by Trent Reznor". A link to view other tweets is below that at twitter.com/nineinchnails.

    Since Trent is NIN and this is on the NIN.com site, I am thinking this is pretty much evidence that Trent is Tweeting.

    I am aware that he deleted the twitter account under his name, but it doesn't mean he has fled from twitter.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Re: Facebook's real fear

    I don't think anyone is missing the point you are trying to make. It's quite obvious. In fact, it's pretty clear that that was what Mike was referring to in the last sentence of the post.

     

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  20.  
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    gshock, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 9:39am

    so...

    turn service into a windows app and charge 2 bucks to download or a remote php script or something. and open source it just to piss off facebook.

     

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  21.  
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    McBeese, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Facebook's real fear

    I think Twitter is a fantastic service. It's a listing of all the retards you'd never want to hire because you know they're addicted to inane real-time social networking that will distract them at work.

     

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  22.  
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    wizened (profile), Dec 30th, 2009 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Facebook's real fear

    I use these sites exactly this way. Got a lot of followers on Twitter? Managing several games or a farm on Facebook? No time for work because you've got too much to do online? NEXT! Go work for my competetor, please.

     

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  23.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Dec 30th, 2009 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Facebook's real fear

    Mike is using the term "illegal", which is a scare word more than anything in this case.

    The site may be a violation of facebook terms and conditions, and it may also be considered an interference in the business relationship between the user and facebook.

    Further, I could see some clear danger here. Let's say a virus writer makes one that key captures facebook logons (not hard to do). They collect a ton of them (say 50 or 100 thousand) and over a short period of time, they "kill" those accounts using this tool. The results for the users would be bad, but the results for Facebook could be worse, a big enough number of dropouts (especially amongst their active users) could be fatal for the service.

    It would appear that deleting your stuff, deleting as much of your history, and turning your page into something else would also get past Facebook's account delete system which doesn't delete your account, just makes your account non-existant and removes you and your posts from other people's accounts. Defacing your page with this system would appear to make recovery difficult or perhaps even impossible.

    From a purely legal standpoint, Facebook is a privately owned website, and like any privately owned business, they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, to refuse access to anyone, provided they don't do it in a discriminatory manner.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 10:12am

    Re: Google Trends

    Wow...

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 10:15am

    What is the deal with these sites now wanting user accounts deleted? I don't know how many message board accounts and whatnot I still have around the internet, because they never give you any way to delete your account. This is stupid. You should be able to delete any account you create on a website just as easily as you created it. The more inactive accounts there are out there, the more potential there is for them to be abused in some manner. This should not be a one-way street, and I see no reason why I should have to hunt down administrative contact information in order to request that my account be deactivated and/or deleted.

     

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  26.  
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    wvhillbilly, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Facebook's real fear

    Facebook shoulda kept their mouth shut. Now that they have sued, the whole world knows about it and now they're really gonna get socked!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Dec 30th, 2009 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Facebook's real fear

    I think that this shows that he removed his personal life from twitter, and is only using the site now as a promotional tool, nothing else. It certainly removes his personal CwF, doesn't it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Good Idea, Dec 30th, 2009 @ 7:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Facebook's real fear

    I am certain that people who are obviously able to successfully multitask, manage multiple projects simultaneously and embrace current online tools would be much better served by working for someone other than a person who can't even spell competitor.

     

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  29.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Dec 31st, 2009 @ 6:24pm

    "From a purely legal standpoint, Facebook is a privately owned website, and like any privately owned business, they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, to refuse access to anyone, provided they don't do it in a discriminatory manner."

    But fortunately they still don't have the right to require anyone to use their service.

     

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  30.  
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    BareForm, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 4:59am

    Every Page is an Island

    I have recently started blogging a bit, and used this article as foundation for one of my first blog entries. It's quite bouncy in its form, but ment to be a start of a deeper discussion. Please, take a look and give me a comment if you like! :)

    Blog entry: Framing the Visual Age :: 'Every Page is an Island'

     

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  31.  
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    Laura Climer, Mar 14th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    remove

    I do not understand how face book could take anyone to court for wanting to get off the stupid site. I have been trying to get my account off for a year. Impossible !! It is like your info is being held in prison. Why do you not want anyone to leave ?? Laura Climer

     

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  32.  
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    Laura Climer, Mar 14th, 2010 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Facebooks demise

    I am with you. Wammer Jammer. I am also going to Seppukoo. Maybe then i can get my name & profile off this mess !!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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