One of the co-founders of the startup social networking website, Diaspora, Ilya Zhitomirskiy, has died, a spokesman to the company said Monday that he died aged 22.
The cause of Zhitomirskiy’s death in San Francisco, nobody knows about it and neither the company nor the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office would release the details.
“Ilya was a great guy. He was a visionary, he was a co-founder of a company that hopes to bring a better social networking experience,” said Peter Schurman, a Diaspora spokesman. “We are all very sad that he is gone. It is a huge loss for all of us, including his family.”
Ilya Zhitomirskiy Bio
He was one of four students who formed a group to starts Diaspora in a computer lab at the New York University.
As an opposition to Facebook, the group raised more than $200,000 by collecting contributions through the website Kickstarter.
Last month, the group posted an article on its website asking people for more contributions which is one of the reason for kickstarter crowdfunding.
The site believes in the idea of sharing while you keep proper control of what you are doing. On its official website, the company refers to itself as a “fun and creative community that puts you in control.”
In a video posted on Vimeo back in April, when Diaspora first went looking for people to fund the project, Zhitomirskiy describes his vision as this:
“No longer will you be at the whims of those large corporate networks who want to tell you that sharing and privacy are mutually exclusive,” he said alongside co-founders Dan Grippi, Raphael Sofaer, and Max Salzber.
However, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is listed as a supporter. He told Wired.com in May 2010 after the time Facebook announced its new privacy controls that, he liked the open source project. “I think it is cool people are trying to do it. I see a little of myself in them,” he said.
If you take a look at Zhitomirskiy’s profile on Diaspora, it reads: “he’s super passionate about building a world of hacker spaces, maker culture, sharing, cycling, and life satisfaction.”
In a September 2010 interview with New York Magazine, Zhitomirskiy told them he wanted social network users to migrate to websites that were more transparent about privacy policies.
Zhitomirskiy said he and his co-founders didn’t set out to make money when they created Diaspora but to instead provide an “open platform” for users.
“There’s something deeper than making money off stuff,” Zhitomirskiy said. “Being a part of creating stuff for the universe is awesome.”