Lick It Up

4 11 2011

For all the great fun and pleasure I have derived on Facebook, I must admit it is a dangerous place. A very dangerous place. Lurking behind many apps and links are trojan horses and malware designed to rob us of something personal. And never you mind the creepers out there who like peeking between the slats in our blinds.

Personal privacy has probably never been on the front burner like it has during the Facebook era. Yes, we’ve had viruses and security breaches for years, but FB offers a playground in which we all too easily let down our guard. We blindly follow links, likes and shares (like the “Two Free Southwest Airline tickets” scam going around lately). In the process, we may as well be leaving the key under the mat…and a sign on the door with an arrow pointing downward.

The hottest link to go viral is actually not a trojan as much as it is a morality tale (or so the word on the street has it). Take This Lollipop has been liked by over 8 million people in just a few short weeks. It is a creepy demonstration that warns us about giving away personal information.

Don’t believe me? Be sure to click the link above and watch the video.

What happens when you access the app is akin to highway robbery of your identity. Suddenly you find yourself watching a video in which you are the potential victim. Your profile pic suddenly appears in a video clip…your image is on the stalker’s dashboard…and suddenly he’s Google mapping his way right to your front door. It ends with one of your friends’ names listed as the next target.

Holy crap. Do you think this had anything to do with Halloween?

Well, maybe. It certainly was good timing to release the app. We were already in the ghouls and ghosts mindset.

But can a person grab that much info from your FB account? Of course they can, Sherlock. And if an enterprising creeper were to tie in to a couple of other online databases, they could easily find their way right to your driveway.

I have not used this app, and probably will not. Yes, my good friend and business partner has cajoled me to do it, but I have already accepted a few too many Terms Of Service agreements from third parties wishing to access my Facebook account (think Spotify). And my friends list. And my personal information. And my likes. And…

While Take This Lollipop may indeed be in good fun (and a word of warning), I am all too happy just reading about it. Message absorbed. TYVM.

And truth be known, the project is really just a highly creative adventure by one of the guys who developed last year’s smash Elf Yourself campaign for Office Depot. Fun and games. Bwahahahahaha.

But then again, you never know.

Which is all the more reason to think twice before allowing third-party apps to access your FB account. Every time we agree to one of those, we allow ourselves and all of our friends to become targets for marketers. And maybe rogue businesspersons intent on wreaking personal harm and ruin.

I’ll stick to the candy my kids brought home on Halloween.

Dr “No Sucker” Gerlich



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