Facebook Yanks Down 'Shank' Knifing Applet

A controversial computer game which let members of the social-networking site Facebook "virtually knife" one another has been removed from the Web site.

Shank could be added by any Facebook member and appeared in the user's profile as a small knife with a black blade.

Once installed as part of the Superpoke! application — which is typically used to send virtual greetings such as hugs and kisses — it allowed users to "shank" their friends.

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In a statement Monday morning, Facebook said that the shanking feature had been removed from the site. The program had been made available by Slide, a third-party software developer which had now removed the feature from Superpoke!, Facebook said.

British anti-knife crime campaigners condemned the application, details of which emerged barely a week after the British Crime Survey found that more than 350 knife-crime offenses were being committed in the country every day.

In London, 21 teenagers have been killed this year — the majority the victims of stabbings.

"The stupidity of having this on their site is unbelievable," said John Knox, whose nephew, the "Harry Potter" actor Rob Knox, was killed in a knife attack after intervening in a dispute about a mobile phone. "And they deliberately use the street term 'shanked', which is even worse. They are targeting the kids who are on street corners carrying knives."

• Click here to read the rest of this story at the Times of London.