Just when you were getting used to the idea of Facebook having your personal information out there for the world to see comes Take This Lollipop, a hot new Web site that is making the rounds just in time for Halloween. It plays on people’s fears by showing a sweaty, twitchy guy, sitting in a darkened room, using a computer to nose around Facebook. And get this — he’s not just looking at anybody’s Facebook page, he’s looking at YOUR page.
You have to give permission for the site to interact with your page, and they promise that the information is not stored or used for any other purpose and that it is 100-percent safe, but when you see it up on the screen with YOUR pictures used in the video sequence, it’s enough to make you want to delete your profile …. almost.
Jason Zada, a television and music director who works in Los Angeles and San Francisco, is behind the site. His previous work includes interactive campaigns such as the “Elf Yourself” videos for Office Max and commercials for Ray-Ban and Coupons.com. He told The New York Times that the site was just a fun side project, collaborating with a cinematographer, an actor and a developer to polish the final product. He insisted that it was not a stealthy attempt to garner attention for a brand or product.
In the first 24 hours of the site being open to the public, more than 300,000 people gave access to their Facebook accounts. He thinks that it is attracting attention because of its novelty, but also because it taps into broader concerns that people have about how their personal information could be misused. He says the site is intended purely for entertainment, and a fun, seasonal thrill.
Thrill or not, it’s a reminder to be careful about what you post on Facebook and other social media sites. Never post your address, and consider how you adjust your privacy settings. You can allow only your close friends and family, for example, to see your photographs by putting your friends in lists and restricting access.
Caution: preview this Web site/video before allowing children to see it.