Facebook blocks social network-killing app Social Roulette

16 May 2013

Facebook has blocked an app called Social Roulette that mimics the potentially lethal game of chance Russian Roulette by offering users a one-in-six chance of deleting their Facebook account.

The app launched at the weekend as an online version of Russian Roulette, by allowing players the chance to spin a virtual revolver, with one of the revolver’s chambers featuring a version of the Facebook logo.

The app had a one-in-six chance of deleting a user’s account and a five-in-six chance of just posting ‘I played Social Roulette and survived’ to a person’s Facebook timeline, according to its founders.

“Everyone thinks about deleting their account at some point, it’s a completely normal reaction to the overwhelming nature of digital culture,” reads a message on the Social Roulette website.

While it is difficult to permanently delete a Facebook account, the makers of Social Roulette claimed they could remove all of a user’s posts, friends, apps, likes, photos and games before completely deactivating their account.

The Social Roulette app has been short-lived on Facebook, however. One of the app’s founders, Kyle McDonald, told TechCrunch that just four hours after the launch for Facebook, the app was flagged by an automated system for ‘creating a negative user experience’.

Facebook’s official line on the matter to TechCrunch was that it takes “action against apps that violate” its platform policies as stated on its Platform Policies page for Facebook developers “in order to maintain a trustworthy experience for users”.

McDonald created the Social Roulette app along with Jonas Lund and Jonas Jongejan as part of a four-hour project during the CLICK new media art festival that was held in Helsingor, Denmark, between 8-12 May.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic