Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Social Roulette has a 1 in 6 chance of deleting your account (socialroulette.net)
187 points by muratmutlu 1233 days ago | hide | past | web | 145 comments | favorite

There are a bunch of red flags here. It's possible this app has an ulterior motive.

At the top it says the author is Douglas Rushkoff but the avatar in the FB screenshot (under The Story) is Jacob Appelbaum's[1].

Here are the permissions it requests[2]: "publish_stream, email, rsvp_event, publish_actions, friends_online_presence, user_online_presence, manage_notifications, manage_friendlists, create_event, ads_management, xmpp_login, read_stream, read_requests, read_mailbox, read_insights, read_friendlists, user_work_history, user_website, user_videos, user_subscriptions, user_status, user_religion_politics, user_relationship_details, user_relationships, user_questions, user_photos, user_notes, user_location, user_likes, user_interests, user_hometown, user_groups, user_education_history, user_games_activity, user_actions.video, user_actions.news, user_actions.music"

There would be no point in requesting most of those if all you were doing was publishing a message or deleting content.

As PaulMest pointed out, apps do not have access to delete most of your content.

[1]: https://twitter.com/ioerror

[2]: https://github.com/kylemcdonald/socialroulette.net/blob/mast...

From the FAQ:

Can Social Roulette really delete my account?

Yes. While it's very difficulty to "permanently delete" a Facebook account, we can completely remove all your posts, friends, apps, likes, photos, and games before completely deactivating it.

I think it's saying that Douglas Rushkoff is an author, not the author of this particular app. Since they're all fabrications anyway, though, it doesn't much matter.

The testmonials on that site are complete fabrications. Gawker never said "Social Roulette just rewrote the rules for online gaming." nor has it ever mentioned Social Roulette and the Gruber quote also does not exist, only someone tweeted it at him. Testimonials that are lies are shameful and dishonest.

The creator was being facetious and the fabrications were meant to be obvious enough that no one would take them seriously, right?

No, it isn't obvious that the listed testimonials are fake.

It is pretty obvious to most people.

That doesn't make you stupid, but you may find that you encounter similar situations in life, and it's something you may want to be aware of before you start throwing around big words like "lies", "shameful" and "dishonest" where such reactions are completely misplaced.

"It is pretty obvious to most people."

I really doubt most people know who Gawker, Bruce Sterling, John Gruber or FaltyDL are, which makes it doubtful that most people are in on the joke.

These quotes are not out there in a vacuum, they are on a site that randomly deletes your Facebook account. Even if you don't know any of these people it doesn't require much to realize they are jokes.

I mean who would ever say "It's the most exciting thing I've done this year" for a site like this?

> I mean who would ever say "It's the most exciting thing I've done this year" for a site like this?

A typical tech blogger.

FaltyDL makes (great[0]) dance music. His inclusion is most odd.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI4A8xtwpGQ

In what way are the fabrications obvious? They seem like plausible testimonials to me.

Quite clearly parody....

Gruber is well-known for not having a Facebook account, so I think the joke is obvious.

I read daring fireball pretty often and I didn't know this, so no, it's not obvious.

I once read that the chance of Russian Roulette is NOT 1:6 but more like 1:600, since you play with one bullet and the weight of the bullet makes it relatively unlikely that the bullet stops next to the top position in the barrel when you spin it.

Don't know if this is true but in the end, it doesn't matter for this stupid game.

Someone reportedly did an informal experiment. One gun, 200 spins. Results:

  Position    Times
  1 (barrel)   20 (0.100)
  2            25 (0.125)
  3            35 (0.175)
  4 (bottom)   38 (0.190)
  5            41 (0.205)
  6 (death)    41 (0.205)

Source: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=11585888&...

I love how people have so much trouble understanding the Monty Hall 'paradox', but when you give them basically the exact same problem in the form of Russian roulette then suddenly it becomes trivially intuitive that you REALLY want to spin in between turns.

It's hard to understand even after reading about it :) .


And I did take probability classes (and passed :) ).

I had the same reaction to the link.

But, since I've been checking out the Go language, I decided to whip up a little simulation[1] to prove the claimed probability. And indeed, it is true: choosing the moderator's offer wins 2/3 of the time.

[1] http://play.golang.org/p/7ua2ZCSuVD

The trick is to imagine the same scenario but with a billion doors. You choose a door, and then the moderator closes every single door except for yours and one other door. Then it's much easier to see why it's better to go with the other door.

How do you map Monty Hall to Russian Roulette? I choose a slot, you choose an _empty_ slot - should I spin or not?

Or I choose a slot, you choose the bullet... no that doesn't make sense either.

You spin, fire, no bullet.

I now have 1/5 of a chance that there is a bullet in the next chamber, if I spin I have 1/6th. The odds gets more and more favourable towards spinning, the more people fire the gun.

Depends on if you're re-spinning between turns. Otherwise the first guy might get a 1/600 chance, but everyone afterward has better (or worse?) than 1/6 odds.

Well, if it's the case that there's a 1/6000 chance that the first guy gets hit, it's 5999/6000 chance that the third guy gets it. (Not true, but it's gesturally correct).

So I imagine the odds are much less skewed or NOBODY forgets the spin between rounds. Also, if you don't spin between rounds and you're the 6th person to try it... this isn't really a game of risk anymore.

Why is the parent down voted? He was responding to the hypothetical case that the odds are initially 1/600 due to bullet weight and no one else spins.

Granted, he wrote 1/6000 instead of 1/600, but his basic point is correct: if no one else spins, the odds for each of the other 5 players would not remain ~1/6.

Thanks for the nudge! I did misread the hypothetical distribution the parent claimed. I definitely wrote that response in a hurry as a thought experiment to flesh out what the least bizarre rules for R.R. might be, but I was surprised by the vehement negative response.

Heh, you really have no idea of what you're talking about, do you? (Or are just plain stupid)

One, the other, or both might by true. However, in polite company there is rarely a need to ask the former and definitely not the latter.

Putting other people down, even or especially when they are wrong says more about you than them. Please don't.

I think he understands better than you, quite frankly.

Your odds never change, this is not how maths work. It's always 1/6, just like the odds of getting heads/tails in a coin flip is ALWAYS 1/2 no matter how many times you flipped already. Odds of receiving a certain outcome X number of times in a row can change,but the odds of a single event never,never,never do. Even if you flip a coin 10000 and got tails 10000 times, your 10001 flip also has a 50/50 chance of being heads or tails.

That's not how maths work. You're describing something that works for non-dependent events. Flipping a coin 50 times previously has no bearing on how it will flip the 51st time. The events are said to be independent.

In a six round revolver loaded with a single bullet and then randomized, pulling the trigger advances the next round. The first pull has a 1/6 (or 1/600, whatever) chance of firing. You will fire (assuming no mechanical malfunction and no randomization of the round after each pull) in those first 6 shots with a probability of 1.

Sorry, I honestly thought that you would spin before every try, in which case, every test would have the same 1/6 probability of firing.

Which just means you didn't read the comment to which you were replying...

I did, but because I didn't know that in Russian Roulette you are not supposed to spin before each try, I assumed that the guy I was replying to was wrong.

Simple misunderstanding that I made as well until I read your comment chain.

Im not sure you understand how a revolver works.

This is hacker news, chances are 1/6 he knows what a revolver is.

Revolver is a 1 in 6, but I say much higher he knows what a Desert Eagle or AWP is =). #CSDoesntStandForComputerScience

AWP lol.

Actually, it's 1/2 chance since it's either "yes" or "no".

Ahh, the freshman probability theorem. AKA the Lotto player's defense.

It's not just freshmen and lotto players. Sometimes it derails useful work:


Plus I'm feeling pretty lucky today, so how could I lose?

So the chance that I'm God is 1/2? Cool.

Ouch, looks like you are taking a lot of slack for this --- don't worry, I didn't realize the protocol for Russian Roulette was not to spin again after the first attempt, either. You're right if they spun it again afterwards, they are right if you just continue through the 6 bullet slots in the revolver.

Yeah, that's exactly what I thought, was really surprised by the number of down votes initially.

It's because you're underestimating the average intelligence of an HN reader. Basically everyone here knows how probability works for independent events.

He's saying that when it is first spun, the odds are low because of the weighting explained earlier. After that it is not re-spun and is instead advanced to the next bullet, which does change it, because you now are limiting the number of total possible places for the bullet.

I believe he meant that he first person has 1/6 (at least or most...idk) but assuming the next person goes there is one less chamber each time. 1/5, 1/4, etc. until you get to 1/1 at least. There would have to be some change between rounds to change that part.

Actually the chance of the 6th person getting the bullet is initially no greater than the chance that the nth person gets the bullet, since you have to take into account that the gun fires before the first person gets the gun, which happens to be 5/6.

> until you get to 1/1 at least

Possibly even more!

That is true with coin flips because the probability of a next coin toss coming up heads or tails is independent[0] of any previous coin tosses. Assuming you aren't spinning between turns, the probabilities are not independent anymore.

0: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_(probability_theor...

If you're not re-spinning between turns you're not doing independent trials like flipping a coin repeatedly.

Sorry, I honestly thought that you would spin before every try, in which case, every test would have the same 1/6 probability of firing.

People often (well in films at least) spin the barrel out of the gun and then snap it shut at a random time while it is still spinning. That would take your chances back up to 1/6.

I can safely say that is not true. The weight of a bullet is pretty small compared to the weight of a cylinder. Try it (not the shooting part). It's not a big effect.

Spinning the cylinder is also bad for the revolver's timing and cylinder stop/cylinder flutes. So, the odds of pissing off the gun's owner are near 100%, even if you don't end up dead.

I lubs mah guns.

The way I though you spin it is with the gun facing up. The would negate the gravity effect. And yes, people "play" it, stupid drunk people.

With the gun facing up is probably the most reasonable way to play. The round would have a good chance of falling out.

It's terrible but the phrase "life is cheap in Russia" comes to mind, which I think I heard when these videos of Russian kids showing off on tall structures started emerging. Of course kids in most all countries enjoy such thrills.

I thought it was a theoretical game that no one actually plays.

Definitely not just theoretical. List of 'notable incidents' including deaths on Wikipedia[1].

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_roulette#Notable_incide...

Last year alone four people died in the US while playing the game. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/05/dion-von-mays-dies-...

Combining this with the 1 in 600 statistic of the grandparent comment, it seems like ~2000-3000 people played Russian Roulette last year. To me, that's even more astounding than the number of deaths -- although the number of deaths is certainly more tragic.

That's a pretty big leap of faith assumption though. Does anyone have a source or a revolver?

I have spun a revolver with one round in the cylinder. First, you wont wait for it to settle, so it doesn't matter. Second, a cylinder is pretty heavy, so even if you did, it's not that big an effect. Third, there is significant friction between the cylinder and the pin it rotates on, which will prevent it from settling in that manner. The 1:600 number isn't true.

Even if the 1/600 estimate(which I'm skeptical of) is correct, it wouldn't translate to that many people having played, but that many trigger pulls.

I think it's more likely that someone who plays once will play multiple times than it is for someone who has never played to start.

That's assuming that everyone who dies from playing it only played it once. It could be that only 4 people played it at all, and they all played it ~600 times.


If you create something, no matter how completely ridiculous and stupid and dangerous and outright retarded it is, and then release it onto the population, someone somewhere will do it. In all likelihood, many people will.

No. You snap the cylinder shut while it is spinning.

An app using Facebook's API cannot delete objects not created by itself (e.g. cannot delete posts or photos). So either this requires you install a browser extension or it's fake.

You're right:

  You can delete a post as long as your application created the post.
- https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/api/post/

Looks like a good way to gather authentication keys in that case.

Correct; this was a social experiment. The aftermath is explained here: http://fffff.at/when-you-dont-own-yourself/

I don't know much about the API, but that was my understanding as well. I just tried the game and survived. Can anyone who has had the experience of losing describe what happened?

I just played and lost, 'Bang, your Facebook account is being deleted'. In panic mode I was thinking I could cancel it, tried to remove Socialroulette from my authorized apps, but it was too late. Now, no account but I'm gonna try and reactive it and will you know how it goes

A word of advice: Don't play real russian roulette, as there is no "panic mode".

If deactivation of you account is something that would induce "panic," why did you play?

In my opinion this game seems fucking absurd, if it's not altogether a social engineering scam anyway.

You have to keep not being logged out for a month (last time I checked) before the account is actually deleted.


Invalid API Key

Well that didn't take long.

I suspect it's because the original app id and secret key are public on the github repo.[1]

I bet they're registering a new application and secret right now, hence the invalid API key error.

[1]: https://github.com/kylemcdonald/socialroulette.net/blob/ba32...

Either that or they're starting to exceed usage. I'm sure there's not some magic mass delete routes for facebook's api. I have to think they're going to be hitting some kind of limit here pretty soon.

I also get a FB OAuth Invalid API key error when I try to "play" the app.

I really like this idea. I've always wondered whether I should delete my Facebook account, but I never put the effort into weighing up the consequences. I might just do this for the thrill of it. If I survive I get an interesting status, if not, I leave Facebook for silly reasons. Win/win.

I don't understand the purpose of the second rule: "you must play once a day". If you abide by that rule, then you're guaranteed to leave Facebook eventually. Where's the thrill in that? Is this rule optional, or does the app play for you automatically?

It says _may_ play _only_ once a day.

Ah, I did not notice the only word. It seems like a pointless rule to me.

Norton flagged the website as a "Facebook Fake Like Count Scam."

I got the same thing.

How save is this? By safe I mean, how do I know they wont steal all my facebook information and store it somehwere...

You don't! See, it's two games in one.

Gee, looks like this shows how great it is to rely on a platform to build something sustainable.

Invalid API Key

I don't think an app designed to delete your entire account can really be deemed "sustainable"...

Do you have any idea what you just tried to play?

Couldn't actually start because the error appeared when authenticating

This probably breaks TOS somehow. There once was another very similar service that swapped followers between two Twitter users. That was taken down as breaking Twitter's TOS.

You mean swapped "followed"?

Looks like it is by Jacob Appelbaum, at least that is his profile pic in the screenshot (next to the empty answer box). Would be weird though as it is using Google Analytics.

Nicely spotted, but the quote on the top left indicates the author is Douglas Rushkoff ^^

Is it really that scary to delete your account? It's really, really easy to reactivate. When I deactivated my Facebook account it was hard to not reactivate it.

Deactivating your Facebook account is not the same thing as deleting it. Deleting is permanent (though it's delayed to prevent abuse).

https://www.facebook.com/help/214376678584711 https://www.facebook.com/help/224562897555674

Sure, but you have to wait for (last time I checked) 1 month without logging in before it's actually deleted.

Yeah but they say they remove all your posts and photos too.

I deleted, not deactivated, my account about 2 years ago; it's far more liberating than scary.

Of course, I still have an fb account for running ads and using the api's, but neither my name nor personal email is tied to it at all.

In my experience liberating and scary often go hand-in-hand.

Why would someone not spin the revolver?

Because it is cheating. The chance of the nth person getting the revolver (with no spin) is 1 - (n-1)/6, so the chance of the nth person dying is 1 - (n - 1) / 6 times the chance of a bullet in the chamber which is n/6.

You spin and the last one becomes n/6, which means that the game is biased in favor of later starters.

Yeah, but then the sixth person has a 100% chance of dying, I wouldn't call that biased in their favor.

It's fairer if everyone just always spins.

They have a 100% chance of dying if the gun gets to them which it will do only 1/6 of the time.

Wherease if the sixth person spins, then they have a 1/6 chance of blowing their brains out and a 1/6 chance the gun gets to them, for a total of only 1/36 chance of no brain, compared to a 6/36 chance of no brain for the first guy, 5/36 for the second guy (5/6 chance that he has to pull the trigger, 1/6 chance he dies if he has to pull the trigger), third guy has 4/6 chance of having to pull the trigger for a combined 4/36 (which reduce to 1/9), fourth guy has a fifty-fifty whether he has to pull the guy which gives him combined 3/36 (which reduce to 1/12), fith guy has to pull the trigger only 2/6 which gives him a measly 2/36 (reduces to 1/18).

That was the spinning case.

In case there is no spin after the first pull of the trigger:

first guy has 1/6 chance of shooting his brains out, which is the same as the last example. Second guy has 5/6 chance of having to shoot, and 1/5 chance of blowing his brains out if he has to fire, for a combined 1/6 (same as the first guy). Guy two has to fire 4/6 and has 1/4 chance of blowing of his head if he has to fire, giving a total of 1/6.

The numbers work through all the numbers.

While it is true that the last person is fucked if he has to shoot, there is also only 1/6 chance he has to shoot, so his odds are as good as the rest of them.

The problem with having to spin the gun in between is that you break the dependent variable that increase the chance of the gun going of on each non-bang but keep the one that lowers the properbility of having to fire.

Hmm, you're right, thanks for the explanation. I was thinking of the iterated 2-person case, but I guess the logic is the same there (you can spin in the beginning of every round, of course).

From what I can see, the opponent never spins. So I guess if you survive without spinning, they are more likely to lose on the next attempt.

He span for me, but only when we were on the last two bullets, which was about the same time I was spinning.

I always spun, and I'd say he spun around 50% of the time. We took around 10 turns, too.

Hardcore mode.

Wow, 13 attempts each before the gun finally went off. I thought this game was just joking with me and wouldn't ever go off.

When I click the link, Norton is telling me that it's blocked an attack by "Web Attack: Fake Like Count Spam", FYI. Curiously, this is happening even when NoScript appears to be blocking scripts on the page.

The source appears to be available at https://github.com/kylemcdonald/socialroulette.net

Sadly it's missing all the interesting code (it's gitignored). Not sure what's the point of putting it on github in that state.

Funny bit about this is that someone will give these people millions in funding or acquihire. All for a:

    from random import randint

    choice = randint(1, 6)
    delete = randint(1, 6)

    if choice == delete:
        print "Today is not your lucky day."
        print "Try again tomorrow."

    print "Today's choice was {0}.".format(choice)

    #I felt like writing some bad python.

FYI "choice" is the name of a function in the random module:

    from random import choice

    if choice(range(6)):
        print "Try again tomorrow."
        print "Today is not your lucky day."

No one liner? Im disappointed. Did you read the commnt at the end?


    puts "Bam" if rand(6).zero?

    print ("Click", "Bam!")[input()%6==4]
Tee hee.

There's a bug in your code, the chance of deleting is less than 1/6.

While the code could use streamlining by only drawing one randint and comparing it to a static number, the probability of orangethirty's way of doing it still gives the correct probability of 1/6. Think of it as two dice, the chance of rolling doubles is 6/36 = 1/6.

I think the point of the post you're responding to is that the code doesn't actually delete anything.

How could it delete what is not there? Or did you really expect me to write python script with fb graph integration?

I know what you mean. In a sense the backend code is probably pretty simple. But that just goes to show how important the implementation / design really is. I just survived the game, and I thought the spinning revolver wheel is what made the experience.

My point is that the code really doesnt matter in many "startups". Just the fact that someone will buy.

As a programmer I think that well-written code can be beautiful. A pithy, innovative Python script should be worth more than, say, a script that powers a run-of-the-mill to-do list app.

At the same time, I think it's understandable that users and investors don't evaluate startups the way I do, using a programmer's mindset. They're more interested in how well the overall idea has been executed from design, marketing and user experience standpoints.

This should get "acquired" by Facebook and then shut down, otherwise they'll lose half of their user base, haha^^

I think you mean a 1/6th...

...If everyone played only once...

No but seriously if this goes viral, they could lose several million users. At an LTV of $75/user right now that can be between $100m-$200M. Better buy these guys for $50M. :)

Or Facebook can just as easily block them from API access.

> What are you afraid of?

Well, losing my account.

Finally, a convenient way to delete your facebook account with fewer hoops to jump through.

Quite similar to what Harper Reed and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer did at 7-on-7 a few weeks back (which was quickly disabled by FB) http://www.friendfracker.com/

whois info: http://whois.domaintools.com/socialroulette.net

private of course.. A Happy DreamHost Customer 417 Associated Rd #324 Brea, CA 92821 US +1.7147064182

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact