Apparently there has been a little bit of an uproar over the past few days over one of the actions on Slide’s SuperPoke application. Users were able to “shank” each other. “Shank” is a slang term which refers to stabbing other people. The action was considered distasteful as there have been a number of London teenagers who have been killed this year in violent attacks. Slide decided to have the feature removed following being contacted by the Sun. When asked to comment on the issue a Slide spokesman stated:
“Slide does not condone violence whatsoever, and our SuperPoke! application is meant to foster fun, virtual communications between friends. We have removed this particular action as it misrepresents the SuperPoke! brand”
This highlights the complex relationship that developers have with Facebook. Don’t expect the SuperPoke application to be approved for Facebook’s new Great Apps Program anytime soon. Whether or not this was Facebook’s call is debatable. One user on Facebook simply suggested that users not use the feature. Unfortunately it wasn’t within a user’s control to prevent themselves from being shanked by other people. As such, the feature was shut down.
Slide has been in contact with us and they said that it appears that the Sun put an interesting twist on the story. Slide has not been contacted by Facebook about shanking users. Apparently the Sun blew this out of proportion and the article spread around various media outlets, including the multiple sources I received this information from. Gawker provides a good take on the story. Slide sent me the following comment:
1) Facebook did not force us to do anything; we were contacted by The Sun last week – the first time we had even heard that there might even be a hint of misunderstanding about this particular action. We immediately removed the action because it is true that it does not represent the SuperPoke! brand, which is about fun, often silly, messages that friends send to each other. We also gave The Sun immediate comment, which they did not include in their initial coverage.
2) There has never been a user outcry; we have millions of SuperPoke! users and get comments from them all the time – the vast majority are positive and no one has complained about violence. The Sun is a tabloid and sensationalized this story to the extreme – they have never told me who they were getting their claims from.