Controvesy Around Slide’s SuperPoke Facebook App For “Shank”

Posted Jul 28, 2008

Slide, Inc., the company created by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, is taking some heat from The Sun U.K.  The Sun U.K. is blaming Slide for a violent epidemic happening in London because in the SuperPoke application, users can virtually “shank” friends.

Slide immediately removed the “Shank” feature from the application.  ?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? stated a Slide spokesperson.

I agree that “Shanking” friends on the virtual application is distasteful, but I disagree with the way that The Sun reported the whole thing.  The Sun U.K. interviewed the uncle of Rob Knox, an actor who played Marcus Belby in the Harry Potter movies.  Rob Knox was killed by former classmate , Karl Bishop with a knife in front of a bar when trying to protect his little brother.  Knox’s uncle was quoted by The Sun:

?Wait until one of their family members is a victim of knife crime and then see what they say.  The stupidity of having this on their site is unbelievable. And they deliberately use the street term ?shanked?, which is even worse. They are targeting the kids who are on street corners carrying knives.?

The first sentence of that quote was very distasteful.  Violence happens everywhere.  When something bad happens, media sensationalists have a tendency to try and find scapegoats.  I believe that Slide is being wrongfully accused here.  Some of the SuperPoke features can easily be offensive, but at the end of the day we are all human and a majority of us have control of our own actions.

Related Links:
1. AllFacebook
2. The Sun UK article