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22-year-old founder of social networking site found dead

Ilya Zhitomirskiy set up Diaspora with three other New York University students in 2010 as an ‘anti-Facebook’.

The Diaspora homepage pays tribute to Zhitomirskiy
The Diaspora homepage pays tribute to Zhitomirskiy
Image: Screengrab

A 22-YEAR-OLD CO-FOUNDER of social networking site Diaspora, which styled itself as the ‘anti-Facebook’,  has been found dead in San Francisco.

Ilya Zhitomirskiy set up the open-source site with three other New York University students in 2010 as an alternative to Facebook. The site promised users greater privacy and more control over their information.

The cause of Zhitomirskiy’s death was not immediately known. The San Francisco coronor’s office has said that it will be several weeks before the full details are known, according to the BBC.

The website Gawker is reporting that he committed suicide.

The tech start-up had raised more than $200,000 in their initial attempt at funding the project after receiving praise from the New York Times and TechCrunch, among others. They had recently asked supporters for more money after the initial funding had run out.

Speaking to New York magazine last year, Zhitomirskiy had outlined his philosphy on creating sites: “There’s something deeper than making money off stuff. Being a part of creating stuff for the universe is awesome”.

The Diaspora website has a tribute to Zhitomirskiy on its homepage with his name and photograph alongside a picture of a dandelion.

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