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End your social networking life with Seppukoo

December 10, 2009 |  5:42 pm

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If Facebook is taking over your life, a new website is offering you a way out.

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.

“You are more than your virtual identity,” the site says. “Pass away and leave your ID behind.”

The site is named after the ancient Japanese samurai act of "seppuku.” The samurai preferred to die with honor. So, rather than fall into the hands of their enemies, samurai would voluntarily kill themselves by plunging a sword into their stomach.

"As the seppuku restores the samurai's honour as a warrior, Seppukoo.com deals with the liberation of the digital body," the site says.

The design and layout of Seppukoo.com is strikingly similar to Facebook – the exception being that Seppukoo is red and gray, while Facebook is blue and white. Another small point of differentiation: Seppukoo features paintings of sword-wielding samurai.

To take the final step, you simply type in the same information you use to log onto your Facebook account including e-mail address and password. (The site says it does not save the information.) Then choose one of six templates for the memorial page and compose your “last words.” After that’s entered: curtains. The profile is deactivated. (If you want back on Facebook, just log in and your account is reactivated.)

However, friends can write on your memorial page. In addition, you get points for recruiting others to commit "seppukoo" and follow you into the virtual netherworld. The site keeps score and lists the point leaders.

The site was produced by an Italian “imaginary art group,” called Les Liens Invisibles (translated from French: The Invisible Links). When asked for an interview, Guy McMusker, art director of the group, replied in an e-mail that Les Liens Invisibles couldn’t do it on the phone. The group couldn’t speak, he said, “because of its invisible nature."

Members of Les Liens Invisibles, Clemente Pestelli and Gionatan Quintini, also created a Google maps parody and a Flickr parody. This is their latest spoof.

About 20,000 people have signed up on the site since it launched last month, McMusker said. Facebook says it has 300 million users.

But he insists that Seppukoo.com was not started to attack Facebook. Instead, the site aims "to help people discover what happens after their virtual life and to rediscover the importance of being anyone, instead of pretending to be someone."

In fact, Les Liens Invisibles has a Facebook page.

"We're not Luddites," McMusker said. "We're incoherent."

-- W.J. Hennigan

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