PHILADELPHIA – The Raya Social Network, a Dutch social networking group, was shut down on Monday after a backlash.
The group, which was founded by Dutch writer and social activist Joost van der Linde, had previously operated under the name “José, Jorunn, and Yves”.
The Raya Twitter account, which is operated by Joost Van der Lindes brother-in-law, has also been shut down, as has its Facebook page.
“Joost Van Der Linde has been removed as chairman and CEO of Raya,” the group said in a statement on Twitter.
“We would like to express our deepest condolences to Joost, and to his family and friends.”
The statement said the group’s social media activity had been limited by the closure of its Dutch social network.
Joost van Der Lindes said he did not want to comment on the closure.
“I will leave the details to my lawyer,” he said.
Joop van der Lijn, who co-founded the Raya Group with Joost and his wife, told the Associated Press news agency that the group had been run “without oversight or transparency”.
He said the Rayas group had used the Rayay social network for “commercial purposes”.
“It’s a very transparent social network,” he added.
“We’ve been running it for 20 years and I don’t think anybody knew who the owners were.”
In an earlier interview with the Associated Post, Joost said he was “troubled” by Raya’s closure.
He said: “We never had any intention to do something wrong.”
Joost said the company had been working for several years on a new social network that would “create a new era” for Dutch-based social networks, but it had “taken a step backwards”.
“What we’ve done is create a new platform that is open for all to use,” he told the AP.
“Raya has created a new kind of social network.”
The Rayay website, which has now been taken offline, had a number of new features, including a dedicated “My Raya” section for members who were looking for more information.
Raya was founded in 2002, with Joop van Der Lijn as a board member.
It is run by the family of Joost.