Is 'Take This Lollipop' Safe?
There's a video/website making the rounds and becoming viral on facebook at the moment. The website, Takethislollipop.com asks permission to connect with your facebook account and gain access to most of the information that you've put on the popular social networking 'site.
Take This Lollipop
At first I was very suspicious of the website as to me it sounded a bit too much like a trojan horse, you know, the kind of thing a group such as notorious hacker group 'anonymous' or others would create in order to steal private information and just down right wreak havoc on the net. As such, I did some research into the video and its origins but wasn't able to come up with much besides a couple of articles by the New Jersey Local News and without a doubt the article that got the ball rolling for the website, a post by The New York Times's Jenna Wortham. Since then the website has shot up to nearly 4 million likes on facebook and has risen in terms of number of visitors to the website by 85% in the last 7 days alone.
The website, which connects to your facebook account as any facebook app would, creates a customized video for each user and sees a dodgy, sweaty looking guy in a dirty vest top on his computer in a dingy building, the camera then focuses on the screen of the computer being used by the dodgy looking fellow and shows him entering a password on facebook before suddenly having access to your news feed! The film then goes on to show him looking at your profile, going through your photos and more before entering the location that you put on your facebook profile into Google Maps, and it gets even weirder, after successfully locating you on Google Maps you see the man driving in his car with a print-out of your profile picture sellotaped to the inside of his car before the screen going blank and an hour-long countdown starting with your name beneath it.
Creepy huh? As it turns out though, The New York Times did an interview with the man behind the film, Jason Zada, a television and music director based in the USA, and according to him, the website was given access to over 300,000 facebook accounts in the first day alone, but insists that the website was created as nothing more than entertainment for the approaching holidays.
If you'd like to watch the film without giving the website access to your account the video below shows someone who did give the site access to their account and filmed the result.