Ilya Zhitomirskiy, the 22-year-old co-founder of the social networking service Diaspora has died, according to the technology news site Tech Crunch. Unnamed sources cited by CNNMoney said Zhitomirskiy committed suicide over the weekend.
Zhitomirskiy and his three co-founders — fellow New York University students Maxwell Salzberg, Daniel Grippi and Raphael Sofaer — launched Diaspora last November. The social networking site raised more than $200,000 in funding through Kickstarter, the microfunding platform that allows anyone to chip in to make a creative project possible.
Diaspora is intended to be an open-source social networking platform with greater privacy controls than Facebook. Instead of sharing data, updates or photos with the world, Diaspora allows you to share them only with selected contacts. Information can be stored on users' computers or on Diaspora's servers. It can also pull users' chosen information from other social networking sites, including Twitter or Facebook.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg donated to Diaspora through Kickstarter, he told Wired last year.
Despite a wave of press when Diaspora was announced last year, the site has never made it out of its alpha phase. According to CNN Money, the site issued a call for additional donations on Oct. 12 but then said on Oct. 19 that PayPal had frozen donations to the company. The money was later released by PayPal.
Diaspora released a redesigned site on Nov. 13, hours before Zhitomirskiy's death became public.
Also on MNN: Facebook be forewarned — the Diaspora is coming