Founder of Open-Source Facebook Foe Dies at 22
Ilya Zhitomirskiy, one of the co-founders and developers of the Facebook-alternative Diaspora, died Saturday night at the age of 22. Cause of death is still to be determined by the San Francisco medical examiner.
The New York University graduate was struggling to launch his social network Diaspora — an open-source social network Zhitomirskiy started building with classmates Dan Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg and Raphael Sofaer early last year. Their goal was to provide an idealistic Facebook alternative with an emphasis on user control and privacy.
The team struggled with money as it worked to release its website, despite quickly raising $200,000 in funding through venture capitalists and microfinance startup Kickstarter after being featured in The New York Times.
But a blog post from the company on Oct. 12 begged followers for more money; the company argued that PayPal had been “mysteriously and arbitrarily” freezing donations to the site. PayPal reportedly liberated the funds.