Take This Lollipop and the Importance of Facebook Privacy

As a child your parents teach you to never take candy from a stranger. Take This Lollipop is the 21st century re-imagination of that conversation, reminding consumers why privacy should be a concern. And, perhaps, why you should never trust virtual strangers.

Reminiscent of Intel’s Museum of Me, the experience begins innocently enough when Take This Lollipop presents you with a Facebook branded sucker asking for your permission, via Facebook Connect, to collect personal information from your profile.

All comparisons between Intel’s experience end immediately after you grant the site access. You immediately find yourself in a very dark and dangerous looking hallway. The video then proceeds to take you into a room that doesn’t look very safe either, with a man at a computer who immediately logs into Facebook.

The experience is quite voyeuristic, and then you realize this man is logging into your Facebook account. The audience of Take This Lollipop may immediately feels remorse for sharing their Facebook profile information as this creepy individual uses your account to spy on you. Starting with your Facebook wall, to your photos and then on to your friends the now dangerous man has access to all of your very private information.

As the site continues, you realize that this dangerous man is now using Google to look up your location. Upon identifying where you are he decides to get into his car to come and find you. And that is when you realize that he has your photo taped to the dash of his rape / kill / capture mobile. As he exits the car, presumably near your location, you are left with a very uneasy feeling. Is this real or just a creepy fantasy?

For me the site actually identified my latest check-in on Foursquare and mapped out a path from the stalker’s search to my actual location. It is a great demonstration of what could happen if your most private data was exposed to the wrong person.

The site ends with a red lollipop and countdown timer showing a name of one of your friends who may be next. What will happen when the countdown reaches zero?

The execution is brilliant as the video presentation seamlessly integrates screenshots of your profile and personal information. It may be one of the best uses of Facebook Connect in my opinion.

Will this become the lead example of why privacy is important in the digital age? While consumers have been trained to freely share their personal information on social networks, will Take This Lollipop have all of us reconsidering this position? Could our most private information be used for something so sinister?

While the site only has roughly 16,000 “Likes” as of 10:00 AM this morning it will surely grow over the next few hours and become a viral hit. It appears that Jason Zada took credit for the execution of the site via Twitter yesterday. Earlier rumors suggested that Tool of North America created the creepy experience.

While Zada did take credit for the site, it’s marketing purpose (if there is one) has yet to be revealed. Checking Whois, the domain registration doesn’t reveal any additional information. About the only other known information is that Bill Oberst Jr. was the actor who portrays your creepy stalker. Oberst Jr. confirmed via Twitter that the video “was filmed in LA at [a] creepy abandoned hospital.”

If you are afraid of sharing your Facebook data don’t be too concerned, the site says “This is for entertainment purposes only. We will not save your information. We will not post without your approval. Promise.”

What are your thoughts on the Take This Lollipop and Facebook privacy? Share your thoughts below or find me on Twitter (@djenders).

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