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.

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Companies: facebook, seppukoo

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Comments on “Is It Illegal To Commit Seppukoo On Your Facebook Account?”

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32 Comments
jhn says:

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.)

Doh says:

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” ?

The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

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.

The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

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-legacy-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.

taoareyou says:

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.

FYI says:

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.

The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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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