A new Facebook app is today going viral as users are encouraged to ‘Take This Lollipop‘. A colleague sent me a link on Skype and assured me in person that it was safe to click on, and that I should follow the instructions.
SPOILER ALERT: I am about to tell you what happens with ‘Take This Lollipop‘. I’m not saying anyone else should try this – you all have minds of your own, and if you want to do something, you will sure as heck go ahead and do it. All I will say is that I have done this myself and there were no ill effects to report on my own nor my friends’ Facebook accounts. I have also since removed the app with no problems (mainly because I don’t like clutter on my profile). If you do want to try this yourself, then don’t read beyond here as it will spoil it for you.
Ok, here goes. After you click on the lollipop, you are asked to grant Take This Lollipop permission to access parts of your Facebook profile etc - the usual Allow/Don’t Allow pop-ups you get when adding a new app. Upon hesitantly clicking ‘Allow’, the screen went black, and then a dimly lit corridor appeared, replete with mouldy walls and dripping pipes, accompanied by the sort of music one might expect to hear in an M Knight Shyamalan film. The first person view-point moves down the hall into a dingy room, revealing a sweaty, unkempt looking man in a dirty white singlet sitting hunched over a computer keyboard, his greasy matted hair obscuring the screen.
What followed actually gave me shivers, and it wasn’t until I picked up on a couple of inconsistencies and then realised how logistically impossible the whole situation was that I eventually calmed down. The man is seen entering a password to your Facebook login ID and then rifling through your profile as if it were his own. He scrolls through your pictures, friends, wall - everything. The feral enthusiasm with which his grubby hand strokes your picture on the screen is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl. But by the time he’d entered a placename into Google Maps and gotten into his car – with a picture of me taped to the dashboard – I was pretty unsettled. The whole ordeal ends with an ominous 1-hour countdown clock and a red lollipop on your screen, accompanied by a message reading “[RANDOM FRIEND] IS NEXT”. Oh, and of course the obligatory ‘f Share’ button.
I know, I know; why on earth would there be a multi-camera film crew (with and exceptionally good live streaming quality) waiting idly in a basement somewhere until some fool like me turns over their Facebook login credentials? The fact that this person also searched for a route to a placename that I’d never heard of helped to calm me down. Obviously it’s just a very, very clever app that uses the information you granted it access to (profile info, photos, wall, friends, etc) to scare the bejesus out of you.
I’m not aware of who has made this, but it seems to be designed to either a) scare the crap out of your friends, or b) serve as a reminder that what you put on the internet seldom stays private. If you’ve seen it, you might certainly think twice about what you post online, no matter how secure you think your privacy settings are.