Facebook knifing game withdrawn following complaints

28 Jul 2008

Superpoke!, a popular application on social networking site Facebook, has now removed a feature which gave users the ability to virtually ‘shank’ or knife their friends, following pressure from an anti-knife crime group.

This feature was removed following public outrage as the UK anti-knife crime group Urban Concepts’ Raymond Stewart said it was “appalling” that this game was allowed to exist on a site heavily visited by teenagers.

The game was also heavily criticised by the uncle of Harry Potter actor, Rob Knox, who was stabbed to death outside a pub in the UK earlier this year by two men armed with knives.

While Facebook allows Superpoke! to be hosted on its site, the application is actually owned by third-party developer Slide.com, which primarily provides widgets or plug-ins for several social networking sites, including Bebo and MySpace.

Superpoke was created after Facebook’s own functionality, the poke button, proved popular amongst users and the application had people throwing sheep at each other, amongst other things. However, the latest addition – the shank action – allowed users to target friends to virtually stab, which was indicated by leaving an icon of a knife in the Superpoke! application on the recipient’s homepage.

Another Superpoke! action which might be receiving attention soon is the ‘taze’ action, whose icon is a handgun, another not-so-subtle choice of weapon from the widget company.

Meanwhile, Facebook has just done a deal with Microsoft to add Live Search to the social networking site. This should serve up a very large audience to Microsoft – a welcome deal in the face of Google’s and Yahoo!’s dominance in the search portal stakes.

By Marie Boran

Pictured:Superpoke! – the Facebook application which carried the stabbing game